Acidic pH induces fusion of cells infected with baculovirus to form syncytia. Academic Article uri icon


  • The enveloped baculovirus insect cell system has been used extensively for expression of recombinant proteins, including viral fusion proteins. We tested wild-type baculovirus for endogenous fusion protein activity. Syncytia formation, dye transfer, and capacitance changes were observed after incubating infected Spodoptera frugiperda cells in acidic media, consistent with fusion protein activity. Only a short acidic pulse of 10 s is needed to trigger syncytia formation. Identical results were obtained with recombinant baculovirus. This new system is convenient for studying pH activated cell-cell fusion. However, using this enveloped virus to study the mechanism of recombinant fusion proteins requires caution.

publication date

  • June 15, 1992