Matching Items (2)

128608-Thumbnail Image.png

5′ and 3′ Untranslated Regions Strongly Enhance Performance of Geminiviral Replicons in Nicotiana Benthamiana Leaves

Description

We previously reported a recombinant protein production system based on a geminivirus replicon that yields high levels of vaccine antigens and monoclonal antibodies in plants. The bean yellow dwarf virus (BeYDV) replicon generates massive amounts of DNA copies, which engage

We previously reported a recombinant protein production system based on a geminivirus replicon that yields high levels of vaccine antigens and monoclonal antibodies in plants. The bean yellow dwarf virus (BeYDV) replicon generates massive amounts of DNA copies, which engage the plant transcription machinery. However, we noticed a disparity between transcript level and protein production, suggesting that mRNAs could be more efficiently utilized. In this study, we systematically evaluated genetic elements from human, viral, and plant sources for their potential to improve the BeYDV system. The tobacco extensin terminator enhanced transcript accumulation and protein production compared to other commonly used terminators, indicating that efficient transcript processing plays an important role in recombinant protein production.

Evaluation of human-derived 5′ untranslated regions (UTRs) indicated that many provided high levels of protein production, supporting their cross-kingdom function. Among the viral 5′ UTRs tested, we found the greatest enhancement with the tobacco mosaic virus omega leader. An analysis of the 5′ UTRs from the Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotinana benthamiana photosystem I K genes found that they were highly active when truncated to include only the near upstream region, providing a dramatic enhancement of transgene production that exceeded that of the tobacco mosaic virus omega leader. The tobacco Rb7 matrix attachment region inserted downstream from the gene of interest provided significant enhancement, which was correlated with a reduction in plant cell death. Evaluation of Agrobacterium strains found that EHA105 enhanced protein production and reduced cell death compared to LBA4301 and GV3101. We used these improvements to produce Norwalk virus capsid protein at >20% total soluble protein, corresponding to 1.8 mg/g leaf fresh weight, more than twice the highest level ever reported in a plant system. We also produced the monoclonal antibody rituximab at 1 mg/g leaf fresh weight.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2016-02-24

156067-Thumbnail Image.png

Optimization of a viral system to produce vaccines and other biopharmaceuticals in plants

Description

Plants are a promising upcoming platform for production of vaccine components and other desirable pharmaceutical proteins that can only, at present, be made in living systems. The unique soil microbe Agrobacterium tumefaciens can transfer DNA to plants very efficiently, essentially

Plants are a promising upcoming platform for production of vaccine components and other desirable pharmaceutical proteins that can only, at present, be made in living systems. The unique soil microbe Agrobacterium tumefaciens can transfer DNA to plants very efficiently, essentially turning plants into factories capable of producing virtually any gene. While genetically modified bacteria have historically been used for producing useful biopharmaceuticals like human insulin, plants can assemble much more complicated proteins, like human antibodies, that bacterial systems cannot. As plants do not harbor human pathogens, they are also safer alternatives than animal cell cultures. Additionally, plants can be grown very cheaply, in massive quantities.

In my research, I have studied the genetic mechanisms that underlie gene expression, in order to improve plant-based biopharmaceutical production. To do this, inspiration was drawn from naturally-occurring gene regulatory mechanisms, especially those from plant viruses, which have evolved mechanisms to co-opt the plant cellular machinery to produce high levels of viral proteins. By testing, modifying, and combining genetic elements from diverse sources, an optimized expression system has been developed that allows very rapid production of vaccine components, monoclonal antibodies, and other biopharmaceuticals. To improve target gene expression while maintaining the health and function of the plants, I identified, studied, and modified 5’ untranslated regions, combined gene terminators, and a nuclear matrix attachment region. The replication mechanisms of a plant geminivirus were also studied, which lead to additional strategies to produce more toxic biopharmaceutical proteins. Finally, the mechanisms employed by a geminivirus to spread between cells were investigated. It was demonstrated that these movement mechanisms can be functionally transplanted into a separate genus of geminivirus, allowing modified virus-based gene expression vectors to be spread between neighboring plant cells. Additionally, my work helps shed light on the basic genetic mechanisms employed by all living organisms to control gene expression.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2017