Canadian Forest Service Publications

Insect cell culture: virus replication and applications in biotechnology. 2013. Arif, B.; Pavlik, L. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 112(Suppl):S136-S141.

Year: 2013

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 34674

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jip.2012.07.011

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Insect cell lines have been initiated since the 1930s and were used to replicate insect baculoviruses as well as arboviruses. Since the latter group of viruses cause serious diseased in man and equines, efforts were expended to characterize the viruses in the new cell lines in attempts to understand the replication cycle at the cellular and molecular levels. Soon it was realized that insect baculoviruses have a potential as viable alternatives to chemicals in the control of agricultural and forest insect pests. The cell lines provided excellent tools to understand the molecular biology of baculoviruses before wide-scale use in the field. During these investigations, it came to light that baculoviruses can be exploited as vectors for the expression of exogenous proteins and vaccines. The amenability of the virus to genetic modifications and the increasing numbers of permissive cell lines opened new avenues in protein expression. However, not all baculoviruses were able to replicate in cell lines. Indeed, there are no cell lines permissive to viruses belonging to the genera Gammabaculvirus and Deltabaculovirus. Some entomopoxviruses have been replicated in a few cell lines and this paper reports the replication of an entomopoxvirus from the spruce budworm in a homologous cell line.

Plain Language Summary

The laboratory technique of maintaining living insect cells is an essential component of biotechnology research. Insect cell lines were first used in the 1930s to study a group of viruses that caused serious diseases in humans and horses. Soon after, scientists realized that certain insect viruses had potential to control agricultural and forest pests. Cell lines were useful in the research to develop biocontrol methods. Scientists have also used these viruses in other aspects of biotechnology research, including genetic modification. Not all viruses can be replicated in cell lines in the laboratory. This paper reports the successful replication of a virus from the spruce budworm in a cell line.