A recombinant AcMNPV containing the green fluorescent protein (gfp) gene under the polyhedrin promoter (polh) was used to investigate the expression of the gfp gene as well as the production of recombinant extracellular virus in 14 continuous insect cell lines, including Heliothis virescens (BCIRL-HV-AM1), Helicoverpa zea (BCIRL-HZ-AM1), Anticarsia gemmatalis (BCIRL-AG-AM1), Trichoplusia ni (TN-CL1), Spodoptera frugiperda (IPLB-SF21), Spodoptera exigua (BCIRL/AMCY-Se-E1 and BCIRL/AMCY-Se-E5), Bombyx mori (BMN), Sf9 (a clone of IPLB-SF21), and five cell line clones of BCIRL-HV-AM1. The susceptibility of the cell lines to the recombinant virus (AcMNPV.GFP) was ascertained by calculating the mean percentage number of green light–emitting cells as well as by TCID50 titration of extracellular virus with fluorescence as a sign of infection. Of the 14 cell lines tested, all were permissive with varying degrees to AcMNPV.GFP, except BCIRL-HV-AMCL2 and BCIRL-HZ-AM1, both grown in serum-containing medium, and BMN, grown in serum-free medium, which were nonpermissive to the virus. Except for BCIRL/AMCY-Se-E1, IPLB-SF21, and four of the five BCIRL-HV-AM1 clones, all the other cell lines (BCIRL-HV-AM1, BCIRL-AG-AM1, TN-CL1, Se-E5, and Sf9) expressed detectable levels of GFP by 48 h postinoculation. The BCIRL/AMCY-Se-E1 and IPLB-SF21 cells, grown in serum-free medium (Ex-Cell 401), expressed detectable levels of GFP at 72 h postinoculation. By contrast, in BCIRL/AMCY-Se-E1 in serum-containing medium (Ex-Cell 401 10% FBS [fetal bovine serum]), GFP was detected at 48 h postinoculation. Furthermore, TN-CL1 cells produced the largest mean percentage number of fluorescent (76.6%) cells in both serum-containing and serum-free medium (64.8%) at 120 h postinoculation. All the BCIRL-HV-AM1 clones showed no GFP expression until 96 h postinoculation, and only then about 1% of the cell population fluoresced. The mean extracelluar virus (ECV) production at 120 h postinoculation was highest in BCIRL/AMCY-Se-E5 cells grown in Ex-Cell 401 10% FBS (37.8 × 106 TCID50/ml) followed by BCIRL-HV-AM1 in TC199-MK (33.4 × 106 TCID50/ml). Only the BCIRL-HV-AMCL3 clone produced any substantial level of ECV at 120 h postinoculation (16.9 × 106 TCID50/ml). However, there was no significant correlation between ECV production and the mean percentage number of fluorescent cells. This study provides further information on the susceptibility of 14 insect cell lines to a recombinant AcMNPV containing the green fluorescent protein gene. This information might avail researchers with information to facilitate decisions as to what other cell lines are available for in vitro studies of the gfp gene.
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Vol. 36 • No. 3