The lipid composition of two different insect cell lines from Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) and Trichoplusia ni (Tn) which are established cell lines for infection with recombinant baculovirus was analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography and gas-liquid chromatography. The major phospholipids found were phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine, the major mono-unsaturated fatty acids were oleic acid and palmitoleic acid, the major saturated fatty acid was stearic acid. The cholesterol to phospholipid ratio was demonstrated to be lower than in mammalian cell lines. Infection with a recombinant baculovirus Autographa californica resulted in increased levels of phosphatidylcholine in the insect cells. The baculovirus/insect cell system has become a popular system for heterologous protein production. Functional changes of membrane proteins produced in these two cell lines might be correlated to a different lipid profile of their cellular membranes. Copyright (C) 1998 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
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