Matching Items (4)

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Plant-made biologics: human butyrylcholinesterase mutants for the treatment of cocaine addiction-related diseases

Description

Cocaine abuse affects millions of people with disastrous medical and societal consequences. Despite this, there is still no FDA-approved treatment to decrease the likelihood of relapse in rehabilitated addicts, and

Cocaine abuse affects millions of people with disastrous medical and societal consequences. Despite this, there is still no FDA-approved treatment to decrease the likelihood of relapse in rehabilitated addicts, and acute cocaine toxicity (overdose) is only symptomatically treated. Studies have demonstrated a promising potential treatment option with the help of the human serum enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), an enzyme capable of breaking down cocaine into biologically inactive side products. This activity of wild-type BChE, however, is relatively low. This prompted the design of variants of BChE which exhibit significantly improved catalytic activity against cocaine. Plants were used as a sustainable, scalable, affordable platform system to produce large amounts of human biologics such as these cocaine hydrolase variants of BChE. Using a tobacco relative, Nicotiana benthamiana, recombinant enzymes can be produced at quantities relevant to clinical use with desired kinetic properties. Next, the ability of the most promising plant-produced cocaine super hydrolase, pCocSH, to counter the lethal effects of cocaine overdose in vivo was tested. These studies revealed that this plant-produced enzyme can protect mice from an otherwise lethal dose of cocaine. Most excitingly, it was found that pCocSH can rescue mice from overdose when given immediately after the onset of cocaine-induced seizures. These studies provide in vitro and in vivo proof-of-principle for a promising plant-derived biologic to be used as a pharmacokinetic-based treatment for cocaine addiction-related diseases such as overdose.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Biological and immunological characterization of plant-produced HIV-1 Gag/dgp41 virus-like particles

Description

Anti-retroviral drugs and AIDS prevention programs have helped to decrease the rate of new HIV-1 infections in some communities, however, a prophylactic vaccine is still needed to control the epidemic

Anti-retroviral drugs and AIDS prevention programs have helped to decrease the rate of new HIV-1 infections in some communities, however, a prophylactic vaccine is still needed to control the epidemic world-wide. Despite over two decades of research, a vaccine against HIV-1 remains elusive, although recent clinical trials have shown promising results. Recent successes have focused on highly conserved, mucosally-targeted antigens within HIV-1 such as the membrane proximal external region (MPER) of the envelope protein, gp41. MPER has been shown to play critical roles in the viral mucosal transmission, though this peptide is not immunogenic on its own. Gag is a structural protein configuring the enveloped virus particles, and has been suggested to constitute a target of the cellular immunity potentially controlling the viral load. It was hypothesized that HIV-1 enveloped virus-like particles (VLPs) consisting of Gag and a deconstructed form of gp41 comprising the MPER, transmembrane, and cytoplasmic domains (dgp41) could be expressed in plants. Plant-optimized HIV-1 genes were constructed and expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana by stable transformation, or transiently using a tobacco mosaic virus-based expression system or a combination of both. Results of biophysical, biochemical and electron microscopy characterization demonstrated that plant cells could support not only the formation of HIV-1 Gag VLPs, but also the accumulation of VLPs that incorporated dgp41. These particles were purified and utilized in mice immunization experiments. Prime-boost strategies combining systemic and mucosal priming with systemic boosting using two different vaccine candidates (VLPs and CTB-MPR - a fusion of MPER and the B-subunit of cholera toxin) were administered to BALB/c mice. Serum antibody responses against both the Gag and gp41 antigens could be elicited in mice systemically primed with VLPs and these responses could be recalled following systemic boosting with VLPs. In addition, mucosal priming with VLPs allowed for a robust boosting response against Gag and gp41 when boosted with either candidate. Functional assays of these antibodies are in progress to test the antibodies' effectiveness in neutralizing and preventing mucosal transmission of HIV-1. This immunogenicity of plant-based Gag/dgp41 VLPs represents an important milestone on the road towards a broadly-efficacious and inexpensive subunit vaccine against HIV-1.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Searching for an HIV vaccine: a heterologous prime-boost system using replicating vaccinia virus and plant-produced virus-like particles

Description

The HIV-1 pandemic continues to cause millions of new infections and AIDS-related deaths each year, and a majority of these occur in regions of the world with limited access to

The HIV-1 pandemic continues to cause millions of new infections and AIDS-related deaths each year, and a majority of these occur in regions of the world with limited access to antiretroviral therapy. Therefore, an HIV-1 vaccine is still desperately needed. The most successful HIV-1 clinical trial to date used a non-replicating canarypox viral vector and protein boosting, yet its modest efficacy left room for improvement. Efforts to derive novel vectors which can be both safe and immunogenic, have spawned a new era of live, viral vectors. One such vaccinia virus vector, NYVAC-KC, was specifically designed to replicate in humans and had several immune modulators deleted to improve immunogenicity and reduce pathogenicity. Two NYVAC-KC vectors were generated: one expressing the Gag capsid, and one with deconstructed-gp41 (dgp41), which contains an important neutralizing antibody target, the membrane proximal external region (MPER). These vectors were combined with HIV-1 Gag/dgp41 virus-like particles (VLPs) produced in the tobacco-relative Nicotiana benthamiana. Different plant expression vectors were compared in an effort to improve yield. A Geminivirus-based vector was shown to increase the amount of MPER present in VLPs, thus potentially enhancing immunogenicity. Furthermore, these VLPs were shown to interact with the innate immune system through Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling, which activated antigen presenting cells to induce a Th2-biased response in a TLR-dependent manner. Furthermore, expression of Gag and dgp41 in NYVAC-KC vectors resulted in activation of antiviral signaling pathways reliant on TBK1/IRF3, which necessitated the use of higher doses in mice to match the immunogenicity of wild-type viral vectors. VLPs and NYVAC-KC vectors were tested in mice, ultimately showing that the best antibody and Gag-specific T cell responses were generated when both components were administered simultaneously. Thus, plant-produced VLPs and poxvirus vectors represent a highly immunogenic HIV-1 vaccine candidate that warrants further study.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Expression of Recombinant Zika Virus-Like Particles in Nicotiana benthamiana

Description

Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreaks have been linked to several neurological pathologies in the developing fetus, which can progress to spontaneous abortion and microcephaly in newborns whose mothers were infected with

Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreaks have been linked to several neurological pathologies in the developing fetus, which can progress to spontaneous abortion and microcephaly in newborns whose mothers were infected with the virus during pregnancy. ZIKV has also been correlated with neurological complications in adults such as Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). ZIKV outbreaks often occur in low income areas with limited access to healthcare. Therefore, there is a need to create a low-cost preventative vaccine against the virus. Mature ZIKV particles contain a lipid bilayer, a positive sense single stranded RNA genome and three structural proteins: the envelope (E), membrane (M) and capsid (C) proteins. Congruently, to other members of the Flaviviridae family, ZIKV proteins are synthesized as a polyprotein precursor which needs to be processed to release the mature structural and non-structural viral proteins. Past studies have determined the ZIKV precursor protein is cleaved by a host furin protease which separates the Pr peptide and the M protein, while the host signal peptidase separates the M and E protein. Processing is important for correct folding of the E protein. In turn, the most important neutralizing antibodies upon infection are directed against epitopes of the E protein. In this work, we used a Bean Yellow Dwarf Viral vector system to transiently express, in Nicotiana benthamiana plants, a portion of the ZIKV polyprotein encoding the Pr, M and E proteins. I further demonstrate that plants can proteolytically process the polyprotein to yield the two integral membrane proteins M and E. These proteins can be shown to co-partition into a soluble membrane-particulate fraction, consistent with formation of enveloped virus-like particles (VLPs). This work provides the first step in creating a low-cost sustainable plant-based production system of ZIKV VLPs that can be explored as a potential component 0f a low-cost prophylactic vaccine against ZIKV.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018