Meet Baculovirus: Your best choice for producing glycoproteins!

Posted by Applied Biological Materials (abm) on May 3, 2019

If you're looking to express glycoproteins or membrane proteins, then baculovirus is the perfect virus to help you with your gene expression experiments. In the sixth addition to our Vectors and Viruses Spotlight Series, we'll introduce you to the baculovirus system, a viral system that can delivery any gene, no matter how large. Learn more about baculovirus and why you should consider using it in your experiment in the article below!


Baculovirus Character Card

Meet Baculovirus

"Hi, I’m Bradley and I like bugs. Some people might think I’m a bit odd, since I prefer to hang out in insect cells. But I’m your virus if you need lots of high quality protein, complete with post-translational modifications. Not only that, but I can deliver any gene, no matter how large!"


Baculovirus is a large virus with a circular, double stranded genome of 80 to 180 kb. It naturally infects insects such as butterfly and moth larvae. Baculovirus has a broad host range, but must be cultivated in insect cells for packaging to occur. Once cultivated, it can be easily produced and purified at high titres.

A few attributes make this a very appealing prospect for gene expression, particularly for the production of recombinant protein. First, the gene capacity of baculovirus is, in theory, unlimited, as the capsid can freely extend. This makes it ideal for expressing large transgenes or multiprotein complexes. Secondly, insect cells can perform post-translational modifications that bacteria cannot, while being easier to grow than mammalian cells. Finally, it is easy to scale up recombinant protein production in order to generate large amounts of protein quickly and efficiently.

Proteins produced using the baculovirus system include those used in the FDA- and EMA-approved vaccines Cervarix®, Provenge® and FluBlok®. Baculovirus has been used in a variety of other applications, including gene therapy, drug screening, eukaryotic surface display, and even the production of other gene transfer vectors such as AAVs and lentiviruses.

Choose Baculovirus as your viral delivery system if:
  • Your gene insert is larger than 8 kb, or you wish to express a multiprotein complex.
  • An alternative expression system when bacterial expression is not feasible.
  • Expression of genes from bacteria, viruses, plants and mammals at levels from 1-500 mg/l.
  • You wish your proteins to have post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation, glycosylation, and acylation.
  • You wish to produce large quantities of recombinant protein.
  • You wish to work in BSL-1 (Biosafety level 1) facilities.

About abm's Baculoviruses

Looking to work with Baculovirus? Have a look at our selection.

  • Applications: Overexpression
  • Genes available: Custom Service
  • Promoters available: polh and p10
  • Tags and Reporters available: No reporter, GFP, RFP

abm offers Custom Baculovirus System includes both gene synthesis/subcloning and viral production. In addition, large-scale protein production service (involving culturing and infection of insect cells) is also available.

Don't know which viral vector to choose?

You know you want to express a gene, but when it comes time to choose an expression vector, your choices can seem overwhelming. Do you go viral or non-viral? Which virus should you use? Or maybe it's not a protein you need to express, but an RNA species?

Try using our Vector Selection Tool. Cut through the fog with this Vector Selection Tool. Simple, clear recommendations for every application.

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