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High accumulation in tobacco seeds of hemagglutinin antigen from avian (H5N1) influenza

Ceballo, Y., Tiel, K., López, A., Cabrera, G., Pérez, M., Ramos, O., Rosabal, Y., Montero, C., Menassa, R., Depicker, A., Hernández, A. (2017). High accumulation in tobacco seeds of hemagglutinin antigen from avian (H5N1) influenza, 26(6), 775-789.


© 2017, Springer International Publishing AG. Tobacco seeds can be used as a cost effective system for production of recombinant vaccines. Avian influenza is an important respiratory pathogen that causes a high degree of mortality and becomes a serious threat for the poultry industry. A safe vaccine against avian flu produced at low cost could help to prevent future outbreaks. We have genetically engineered tobacco plants to express extracellular domain of hemagglutinin protein from H5N1 avian influenza virus as an inexpensive alternative for production purposes. Two regulatory sequences of seed storage protein genes from Phaseolus vulgaris L. were used to direct the expression, yielding 3.0 mg of the viral antigen per g of seeds. The production and stability of seed-produced recombinant HA protein was characterized by different molecular techniques. The aqueous extract of tobacco seed proteins was used for subcutaneous immunization of chickens, which developed antibodies that inhibited the agglutination of erythrocytes after the second application of the antigen. The feasibility of using tobacco seeds as a vaccine carrier is discussed.

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