High efficient production of Pr55gag virus-like particles expressing multiple HIV-1 epitopes, including a gp120 protein derived from an Ugandan HIV-1 isolate of subtype A

L. Buonaguro, F. M. Buonaguro, M. L. Tornesello, D. Mantas, E. Beth-Giraldo, R. Wagner, S. Michelson, M. C. Prevost, H. Wolf, G. Giraldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The main goal of this study was to investigate a novel approach for an efficient and reproducible production of Virus-Like Particles (VLPs) expressing multiple HIV-1 epitopes. The HIV-1 Pr55gag-based VLPs have been produced in a Baculovirus expression system, using a transfer vector able to support the independent expression of different open reading frames (ORFs). In this regard, the gp120 derived from 94UG018 HIV-1A isolate, previously studied in our laboratory, has been packaged into the VLPs together with nef and pol ORFs. In particular, the gp120UG sequence shows a 90% homology in the V3 region compared to African HIV-1 strains of the A-clade. This novel approach is extremely effective for the production of VLPs expressing all the epitopes, as confirmed by Western Blot characterization. Furthermore, the resulting HIV-VLPAs show the expected density (1.14-1.18 g/ml) on a 10-60% sucrose gradient and the morphology of an immature virion at standard transmission electron microscopy. Our results demonstrate that this strategy is highly efficient for expressing a balanced amount of multiple epitopes and their packaging in VLP structures, without affecting the Pr55gag autoassembling capacities. Furthermore, the genetic transposition performed in a modified E. coli represents a methodological improvement, allowing a faster and more reproducible identification of recombinant Baculovirus DNA molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalAntiviral Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001



  • Baculovirus
  • Clade-A
  • Vaccine, HIV-1
  • VLPs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Pharmacology

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