Shrimp Viral Promoters for Gene Expression and Uses Thereof

Case ID:

This is a novel promoter for gene expression that can be used across species. The role animal and insect research play in the development of new medical technologies for humans is quite integral. By understanding their genetic makeup, we can learn how to improve human life. Viruses that affect crustaceans may be able to provide insight into genetic promoters that can interact with prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. 

There are different types of genetic expression. A gene can be expressed within the same species, i.e. homologous expression, or it can be expressed in a different species than the one it originates in, i.e. heterologous. Baculovirus penaei, BP, has an affinity to bind with many different types of tissue, allowing it to be used to promote gene expression for various species. Genetic expression can occur for constitutive genes, those that are always expressed and for inducible genes, those that are only expressed under certain conditions or when their products are deemed necessary; BP can be a potential promoter for both types of genes. 

A virus initially discovered in 1974, Penaeus vannamei singly enveloped nuclear polyhedrosis virus (PsSNPV), was the first shrimp virus found. Over the years it has been analyzed using transmission electron microscopy and was categorized as similar to baculovirus that infects insects. This conclusion was reached based on the identification of a part of its genomic sequence, while the rest of the genome was vastly unknown. 

Currently, there are limited methods of promoting gene expression across species. Bacterial genetic promoters show some potential, but there has yet to be a solution. The discovery of the remaining genome, and its structural conservation, allow it to be used as a cross-species gene promoter, including bacteria, fungi, insects, mammals, and plants. 


  • Gene expression promoter
  • Cross-species genomic applications 


  • Eukaryotic and prokaryotic uses
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tod McCauley
Assistant Director of Licensing, CALS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Arun Dhar
Nam Hung Mai