Expression, purification and characterization of enterovirus-71 virus-like particles

Yao Chi Chung, Jen Huang Huang, Chia Wei Lai, Heng Chun Sheng, Shin Ru Shih, Mei Shang Ho, Yu Chen Hu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

85 Scopus citations


Aim: Enterovirus 71 (EV71) has been implicated as the etiological agent responsible for the recent outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease associated with severe neurological diseases in the Asia-Pacific region. Methods: The assembly process was hypothesized to occur via an orchestrated proteolytic processing of the P1 precursor by the viral protease 3CD. To test this hypothesis, we constructed 3 recombinant baculoviruses: Bac-P1 expressing P1; Bac-3CD expressing 3CD; and Bac-P1-3CD co-expressing P1 and 3CD. Results: Both single infection by Bac-P1-3CD and co-infection by Bac-P1 and Bac-3CD resulted in correct cleavage of P1 to yield individual proteins VP0, VP1 and VP3, while the former approach yielded higher VLP production. In the cells, the structural proteins self-assembled into clusters of virus-like particles (VLP) resembling the authentic EV71 particle aggregates. After ultracentrifugation purification, the dispersed VLPs were indistinguishable from the authentic virus in size, appearance, composition and surface epitopes, as determined by SDS-PAGE, Western blot, transmission electron microscopy and immunogold labeling. Conclusion: Our data, for the first time, suggest that in insect cells EV71 structural proteins adopt a processing and assembly pathway similar to poliovirus assembly. The preservation of particle morphology and composition suggest that the VLP may be a valuable vaccine candidate to prevent EV71 epidemics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-927
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 14 02 2006


  • Baculovirus
  • Enterovirus 71
  • Insect cell
  • VLP
  • Vaccine
  • Virus-like particle


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