Plants to express human proteins

July 30, 2012
Plants to express human proteins
Credit: Thinkstock

Plants are emerging as important biotechnology tools for the production of highly purified recombinant proteins. The Plastomics network dissected the process of foreign gene insertion into plants and their potential use as protein production reservoirs.

Transformation of the gene of interest in the plastid genome offers certain advantages compared to introducing it into the . More than 70 % of the leaf protein will consist of the recombinant protein and transfer of plastid DNA occurs through maternal transmission and not through pollen, providing a strong biological containment. Furthermore, gene integration occurs via homologous recombination at specific and predictable sites of the genome with hardly any silencing being reported.

The aim of the European Plastomics project was to understand the genes and proteins implicated during plastid transformation of tobacco, tomato and potato. The ultimate goal was to improve plastid transformation frequencies, the regulated expression of transgenes in different plastid types and the stability of expressed proteins.

Project teams succeeded in identifying the proteins involved in transgene integration into and excision from the plastid genome. The process of gene transcription was further delineated and control elements were generated that improved transcription of foreign genes in tobacco chloroplasts. An important achievement was the development of a cleavable protein-fusion system capable of producing large amounts of interferon 2b in tobacco chloroplasts.

The information generated during the Plastomics project enhanced our understanding of the processes underlying the insertion and removal of foreign genes into the plastid of plants. Certain findings proved to be commercially exploitable and culminated with the application of a patent for a translation control element.

Overall, project results are expected to have significant implications in the rapidly expanding field of plant biotechnology.

Explore further: Genes under control: Scientists develop gene switch for chloroplasts in plant cells

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4 comments

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EveyHammond
1 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2012
For what reason are they doing this...? This is ridiculous
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2012
There are studies under way to express medically useful proteins in pigs, cows and sheep. That type of use, while very beneficial, is on somewhat disputed ground (ethically speaking). It would be much more, ethically, palatable to do this with plants (and probably also a lot more efficient/cheap).
Deathclock
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 30, 2012
For what reason are they doing this...? This is ridiculous


It's only ridiculous to you because you don't understand it.

The answer to your question is in the very first paragraph:

"Plants are emerging as important biotechnology tools for the production of highly purified recombinant proteins."
Deathclock
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 31, 2012
Pluton follows me around like a scorned wife and down-votes every one of my posts... hilarious. What kind of a non-life must you have to spend time on such things?

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