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Tremblay R.,University of Western Ontario | Wang D.,Princeton University | Jevnikar A.M.,Lawson Health Research Institute | Ma S.,University of Western Ontario | And 2 more authors.
Biotechnology Advances | Year: 2010

Molecular farming of pharmaceuticals in plants has the potential to provide almost unlimited amounts of recombinant proteins for use in disease diagnosis, prevention or treatment. Tobacco has been and will continue to be a major crop for molecular farming and offers several practical advantages over other crops. It produces significant leaf biomass, has high soluble protein content and is a non-food crop, minimizing the risk of food-chain contamination. This, combined with its flexibility and highly-efficient genetic transformation/regeneration, has made tobacco particularly well suited for plant-based production of biopharmaceutical products. The goal of this review is to provide an update on the use of tobacco for molecular farming of biopharmaceuticals as well the technologies developed to enhance protein production/purification/efficacy. We show that tobacco is a robust biological reactor with a multitude of applications and may hold the key to success in plant molecular farming. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Kaldis A.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Ahmad A.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Ahmad A.,University of Western Ontario | Reid A.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | And 10 more authors.
Plant Biotechnology Journal | Year: 2013

Summary: The production of pharmaceutical proteins in plants has made much progress in recent years with the development of transient expression systems, transplastomic technology and humanizing glycosylation patterns in plants. However, the first therapeutic proteins approved for administration to humans and animals were made in plant cell suspensions for reasons of containment, rapid scale-up and lack of toxic contaminants. In this study, we have investigated the production of human interleukin-10 (IL-10) in tobacco BY-2 cell suspension and evaluated the effect of an elastin-like polypeptide tag (ELP) and a green fluorescent protein (GFP) tag on IL-10 accumulation. We report the highest accumulation levels of hIL-10 obtained with any stable plant expression system using the ELP fusion strategy. Although IL-10-ELP has cytokine activity, its activity is reduced compared to unfused IL-10, likely caused by interference of ELP with folding of IL-10. Green fluorescent protein has no effect on IL-10 accumulation, but examining the trafficking of IL-10-GFP over the cell culture cycle revealed fluorescence in the vacuole during the stationary phase of the culture growth cycle. Analysis of isolated vacuoles indicated that GFP alone is found in vacuoles, while the full-size fusion remains in the whole-cell extract. This indicates that GFP is cleaved off prior to its trafficking to the vacuole. On the other hand, IL-10-GFP-ELP remains mostly in the ER and accumulates to high levels. Protein bodies were observed at the end of the culture cycle and are thought to arise as a consequence of high levels of accumulation in the ER.© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2013.


Brandsma M.E.,University of Western Ontario | Diao H.,Lawson Health Research Institute | Wang X.,University of Western Ontario | Kohalmi S.E.,University of Western Ontario | And 4 more authors.
Plant Biotechnology Journal | Year: 2010

Human serum transferrin (hTf) is the major iron-binding protein in human plasma, having a vital role in iron transport. Additionally, hTf has many other uses including antimicrobial functions and growth factor effects on mammalian cell proliferation and differentiation. The multitask nature of hTf makes it highly valuable for different therapeutic and commercial applications. However, the success of hTf in these applications is critically dependent on the availability of high-quality hTf in large amounts. In this study, we have developed plants as a novel platform for the production of recombinant (r)hTf. We show here that transgenic plants are an efficient system for rhTf production, with a maximum accumulation of 0.25% total soluble protein (TSP) (or up to 33.5μg/g fresh leaf weight). Furthermore, plant-derived rhTf retains many of the biological activities synonymous with native hTf. In particular, rhTf reversibly binds iron in vitro, exhibits bacteriostatic activity, supports cell proliferation in serum-free medium and can be internalized into mammalian cells in vitro. The success of this study validates the future application of plant rhTf in a variety of fields. Of particular interest is the use of plant rhTf as a novel carrier for cell-specific or oral delivery of protein/peptide drugs for the treatment of human diseases such as diabetes. To demonstrate this hypothesis, we have additionally expressed an hTf fusion protein containing glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) or its derivative in plants. Here, we show that plant-derived hTf-GLP-1 fusion proteins retain the ability to be internalized by mammalian cells when added to culture medium in vitro. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Choi J.,University of Western Ontario | Diao H.,Lawson Health Research Institute | Feng Z.-C.,Lawson Health Research Institute | Feng Z.-C.,University of Western Ontario | And 8 more authors.
Plant Biotechnology Journal | Year: 2014

The incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is recognized as a promising candidate for the treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2D), with one of its mimetics, exenatide (synthetic exendin-4) having already been licensed for clinical use. We seek to further improve the therapeutic efficacy of exendin-4 (Ex-4) using innovative fusion protein technology. Here, we report the production in plants a fusion protein containing Ex-4 coupled with human transferrin (Ex-4-Tf) and its characterization. We demonstrated that plant-made Ex-4-Tf retained the activity of both proteins. In particular, the fusion protein stimulated insulin release from pancreatic β-cells, promoted β-cell proliferation, stimulated differentiation of pancreatic precursor cells into insulin-producing cells, retained the ability to internalize into human intestinal cells and resisted stomach acid and proteolytic enzymes. Importantly, oral administration of partially purified Ex-4-Tf significantly improved glucose tolerance, whereas commercial Ex-4 administered by the same oral route failed to show any significant improvement in glucose tolerance in mice. Furthermore, intraperitoneal (IP) injection of Ex-4-Tf showed a beneficial effect in mice similar to IP-injected Ex-4. We also showed that plants provide a robust system for the expression of Ex-4-Tf, producing up to 37 μg prEx-4-Tf/g fresh leaf weight in transgenic tobacco and 137 μg prEx-4-Tf/g freshweight in transiently transformed leaves of N. benthamiana. These results indicate that Ex-4-Tf holds substantial promise as a new oral therapy for type 2 diabetes. The production of prEx-4-Tf in plants may offer a convenient and cost-effective method to deliver the antidiabetic medicine in partially processed plant food products. © 2013 Society for Experimental Biology, Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Tremblay R.,University of Western Ontario | Feng M.,University of Western Ontario | Menassa R.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Huner N.P.A.,University of Western Ontario | And 4 more authors.
Transgenic Research | Year: 2011

Soybean agglutinin (SBA) is a specific N-acetylgalactosamine-binding plant lectin that can agglutinate a wide variety of cells. SBA has great potential for medical and biotechnology-focused applications, including screening and treatment of breast cancer, isolation of fetal cells from maternal blood for genetic screening, the possibility as a carrier system for oral drug delivery, and utilization as an affinity tag for high-quality purification of tagged proteins. The success of these applications, to a large degree, critically depends on the development of a highly efficient expression system for a source of recombinant SBA (rSBA). Here, we demonstrate the utility of transient and stable expression systems in Nicotiana benthamiana and potato, respectively, for the production of rSBA, with the transgenic protein accumulated to 4% of total soluble protein (TSP) in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves and 0.3% of TSP in potato tubers. Furthermore, we show that both plant-derived rSBAs retain their ability to induce the agglutination of red blood cells, are similarly glycosylated when compared with native SBA, retained their binding specificity for N-acetylgalactosamine, and were highly resistant to degradation in simulated gastric and intestinal fluids. Affinity column purification using N-acetylgalactosamine as a specific ligand resulted in high recovery and purity of rSBA. This work is the first step toward use of rSBA for various new applications, including the development of rSBA as a novel affinity tag for simplified purification of tagged proteins and as a new carrier molecule for delivery of oral drugs. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Tremblay R.,University of Western Ontario | Diao H.,Lawson Health Research Institute | Huner N.,University of Western Ontario | Jevnikar A.M.,Lawson Health Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
Transgenic Research | Year: 2011

Plants have attracted increasing attention as an expression platform for the production of pharmaceutical proteins due to its unlimited scalability and low cost potential. However, compared to other expression systems, plants accumulate relatively low levels of foreign proteins, thus necessitating the development of efficient systems for purification of foreign proteins from plant tissues. We have developed a novel strategy for purification of recombinant proteins expressed in plants, based on genetic fusion to soybean agglutinin (SBA), a homotetrameric lectin that binds to N-acetyl-D-galactosamine. Previously it was shown that high purity SBA could be recovered from soybean with an efficiency of greater than 90% following one-step purification using N-acetyl-D-galactosamine-agar columns. We constructed an SBA fusion protein containing the reporter green fluorescent protein (GFP) and transiently expressed it in N. benthamiana plants. We achieved over 2. 5% of TSP accumulation in leaves of N. benthamiana. Confocal microscopic analysis demonstrated in vivo activity of the fused GFP partner. Importantly, high purity rSBA-GFP was recovered from crude leaf extract with ~90% yield via one-step purification on N-acetyl-D-galactosamine-agar columns, and the purified fusion protein was able to induce the agglutination of rabbit red blood cells. Combined with this, tetrameric assembly of the fusion protein was demonstrated via western blotting. In addition, rSBA-GFP retained its GFP signal on agglutinated red blood cells, demonstrating the feasibility of using rSBA-GFP for discrimination of cells that bear the ligand glycan on their surface. This work validates SBA as an effective affinity tag for simple and rapid purification of genetically fused proteins. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Tremblay R.,University of Western Ontario | Diao H.,Lawson Health Research Institute | Huner N.,University of Western Ontario | Jevnikar A.M.,Lawson Health Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Biotechnology | Year: 2011

There is an increased need for high-yield protein production platforms to meet growing demand. Tuber-based production in Solanum tuberosum offers several advantages, including high biomass yield, although protein concentration is typically low. In this work, we investigated the question whether minor interruption of starch biosynthesis can have a positive effect on tuber protein content and/or tuber biomass, as previous work suggested that partial obstruction of starch synthesis had variable effects on tuber yield. To this end, we used a RNAi approach to knock down ATP/. ADP transporter and obtained a large number of transgenic lines for screening of lines with improved tuber protein content and/or tuber biomass. The initial screening was based on tuber biomass because of its relative simplicity. We identified a line, riAATP1-10, with minor (less than 15%) reduction in starch, that had a nearly 30% increase in biomass compared to wild-type, producing both more and larger tubers with altered morphological features compared to wild-type. riAATP1-10 tubers have a higher concentration of soluble protein compared to wild-type tubers, with nearly 50% more soluble protein. We assessed the suitability of this line as a new bioreactor by expressing a human scFv, reaching over 0.5% of total soluble protein, a 2-fold increase over the highest accumulating line in a wild-type background. Together with increased biomass and increased levels in total protein content, foreign protein expression in riAATP1-10 line would translate into a nearly 4-fold increase in recombinant protein yield per plant. Our results indicate that riAATP1-10 line provides an improved expression system for production of foreign proteins. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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