Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Expression of hemagglutinin protein from the avian influenza virus H5N1 in a baculovirus/insect cell system significantly enhanced by suspension culture

Nitar Nwe1, Qigai He1, Sudarat Damrongwatanapokin2, Qingyun Du1, Ivanus Manopo1, Yukol Limlamthong2, Beau James Fenner1, Lynn Spencer1 and Jimmy Kwang1*

Author Affiliations

1 Animal Health Biotechnology Group, Temasek Life Science Laboratory, 1 Research Link, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117604, Singapore

2 Department of Livestock Development, National Institute of Animal Health, Chatuchak, Bangkok, Thailand

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BMC Microbiology 2006, 6:16  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-6-16

Published: 24 February 2006



Prevention of a possible avian influenza pandemic necessitates the development of rapid diagnostic tests and the eventual production of a vaccine.


For vaccine production, hemagglutinin (HA1) from avian influenza H5N1 was expressed from a recombinant baculovirus. Recombinant HA1 was expressed in monolayer or suspension culture insect cells by infection with the recombinant baculovirus. The yield of rHA1 from the suspension culture was 68 mg/l, compared to 6 mg/l from the monolayer culture. Immunization of guinea pigs with 50 μg of rHA1 yielded hemagglutinin inhibition and virus neutralization titers of 1:160 after two times vaccination with rHA1 protein.


Thus, the production of rHA1 using an insect suspension cell system provides a promising basis for economical production of a H5 antigen.