Mammalian cells-based platforms for the generation of SARS-CoV-2 virus-like particles

Ghada Elfayres, Ricky Raj Paswan, Laura Sika, Marie Pierre Girard, Soumia Khalfi, Claire Letanneur, Kéziah Milette, Amita Singh, Gary Kobinger, Lionel Berthoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of COVID-19. Though many COVID-19 vaccines have been developed, most of them are delivered via intramuscular injection and thus confer relatively weak mucosal immunity against the natural infection. Virus-Like Particles (VLPs) are self-assembled nanostructures composed of key viral structural proteins, that mimic the wild-type virus structure but are non-infectious and non-replicating due to the lack of viral genetic material. In this study, we efficiently generated SARS-CoV-2 VLPs by co-expressing the four SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins, specifically the membrane (M), small envelope (E), spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins. We show that these proteins are essential and sufficient for the efficient formation and release of SARS-CoV-2 VLPs. Moreover, we used lentiviral vectors to generate human cell lines that stably produce VLPs. Because VLPs can bind to the virus natural receptors, hence leading to entry into cells and viral antigen presentation, this platform could be used to develop novel vaccine candidates that are delivered intranasally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114835
JournalJournal of Virological Methods
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Lentiviral vector
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Virus-like particles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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