Transgenic Research

, Volume 28, Issue 5–6, pp 601–609 | Cite as

Expression and characterization of recombinant human VEGF165 in the middle silk gland of transgenic silkworms

  • Tianyang Zhang
  • Rongpeng Liu
  • Qin Luo
  • Dawei Qu
  • Tao Chen
  • Ou Yao
  • Hanfu XuEmail author
Brief Communication


Recombinant human vascular endothelial growth factor (rhVEGF) has important applications in therapeutic angiogenesis and inhibition of VEGF-mediated pathological angiogenesis. Previous studies have shown that rhVEGF can be produced in several expression systems, including Escherichia coli, yeasts, insect cells and mammalian cells. However, little is known regarding the effective production of this protein in organs of live organisms. Here, we report for the first time the expression and characterization of rhVEGF165 in the middle silk gland (MSG) of the transgenic silkworm line S1-V165. Our results confirmed that (1) rhVEGF165 was highly expressed in MSG cells and was secreted into the cocoon of S1-V165; (2) the dimeric form of rhVEGF165 could be easily dissolved from S1-V165 cocoons using an alkaline solution; (3) rhVEGF165 extracted from S1-V165 cocoons exhibited slightly better cell proliferative activity than the hVEGF165 standard in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells. This study provides an alternative strategy for the production of bioactive rhVEGF165 using the MSG of transgenic silkworms.


Silkworm Transgene Middle silk gland Recombinant human VEGF165 Bioactivity 



We apologize to our colleagues whose work was not cited in this paper due to the publisher’s space constraints. This work was supported by Grants (31872291, 31801126) from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Chongqing Research Program of Basic Research and Frontier Technology (cstc2017jcyjBX0041, cstc2017jcyj-yszx0009). The English in the manuscript was polished by American Journal Experts.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Silkworm Genome Biology, College of BiotechnologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

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