Characterization of self-assembled virus-like particles of human polyomavirus BK generated by recombinant baculoviruses

Tian Cheng Li, Naokazu Takeda, Kenzo Kato, Josefina Nilsson, Li Xing, Lars Haag, R. Holland Cheng, Tatsuo Miyamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The major structural protein of the human polyomavirus BK (BKV), VP1, was expressed by using recombinant baculoviruses. A large amount of protein with a molecular mass of about 42 kDa was synthesized and identified by Western blotting. The protein was detected exclusively in the nuclei by immunofluorescent analysis and it was released into culture medium. The expressed BKV VP1 protein was self-assembled into virus-like particles (BK-VLPs) with two different sizes (50 and 26 nm in diameter), which migrated into four different bands in CsCl gradient with buoyant densities of 1.29, 1.30, 1.33, and 1.35 g/cm3. The immunological studies on the BK-VLPs suggested that they have similar antigenicity with those of authentic BKV particles. Cryoelectron microscopy and 3D image analysis further revealed that the larger BK-VLPs were composed of 72 capsomers which all were pentamers arranged in a T = 7 surface lattice. This system provides useful information for detailed studies of viral morphogenesis and the structural basis for the antigenicity of BKV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 20 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Baculovirus expression
  • BK virus
  • Virus-like particle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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