This project explores cell line engineering approaches to improve the productivity of Sf9 cells, an industrially relevant insect cell line widely used in biologics production. The research centers around the development of gene knockout Sf9 cell lines with CRISPR/Cas9, with the aim of improving baculovirus replication in infected cells. The baculovirus expression vector system is used in conjunction with Sf9 cells to deliver recombinant DNA encoding the biologic of interest. The research focuses on disabling parts of the host insect cell’s antiviral response, exploring the hypothesis that a compromised cellular immune response may allow greater accumulation of baculovirus-derived product. In addition, because Sf9 cells are derived from the crop pest caterpillar Spodoptera frugiperda, cell line engineering might also enhance the production of wild-type baculoviruses in cell culture. Ultimately this technology can be harnessed to enable bioreactor-based production of baculovirus biopesticides at scale, providing a safe alternative to noxious chemical pesticides. 

Project members

Professor Esteban Marcellin Saldana

Group Leader
Marcellin Group

Henry De Malmanche

PHD Student
Marcellin Group

Dr Steve Reid

Senior Lecturer in Biotechnology
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences