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The Baculovirus expression system is derived from Autographa californica nuclear polyhydrosis virus (AcNPV). This baculovirus has a large (130kb) circular double stranded DNA genome. It infects many different species of insects as their natural host. It is not known to propagate in non-invertebrate hosts.

Baculoviruses are capable of expressing high levels of protein. Proteins are expressed up to 50% of the total cellular protein of an infected insect cell corresponding to approximately 1mg of recombinant protein per 1x10E+9 cells.

Due to the expandability of the capsid structure, there is no known upper size limit for insertion of foreign sequence into the baculovirus genome. However it is recommended that cDNA be inserted instead of genomic DNA fragments to avoid improper splicing. The recombinant proteins are processed and modified, and are generally functionally similar to those generated in their native counterpart.

The Gene Transfer Vector Core uses the Bac-toBac Baculovirus Expression System from Invitrogen (Cat# 10359-016 and Cat# 10608-016) to generate these vectors. This system allows making a "virus stock" at a concentration between 1E+7 pfu/ml to 1E+8 pfu/ml in two weeks.