Virus-like particles resemble viruses, but are non-infectious because they do not contain any viral genetic material. The expression of viral structural proteins, such as Envelope or Capsid, can result in the self-assembly of virus like particles (VLPs). VLPs derived from the Hepatitis B virus and composed of the small HBV derived surface antigen (HBsAg) were described over 40 years ago from patient sera. More recently, VLPs have been produced from components of a wide variety of virus families including Parvoviridae (e.g. adeno-associated virus), Retroviridae (e.g. HIV), and Flaviviridae (e.g. Hepatitis C virus). VLPs can be produced in a variety of cell culture systems including mammalian cell lines, insect cell lines, yeast, and plant cells.
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