Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 433–445

Molecular farming of recombinant antibodies in plants

  • S. Schillberg
  • R. Fischer
  • N. Emans
Review

DOI: 10.1007/s000180300037

Cite this article as:
Schillberg, S., Fischer, R. & Emans, N. CMLS, Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2003) 60: 433. doi:10.1007/s000180300037

Abstract:

Antibodies represent a large proportion of therapeutic drugs currently in development. In most cases, they are produced in mammalian cell lines or transgenic animals because these have been shown to fold and assemble the proteins correctly and generate authentic glycosylation patterns. However, such expression systems are expensive, difficult to scale up and there are safety concerns due to potential contamination with pathogenic organisms or oncogenic DNA sequences. Plants represent an inexpensive, efficient and safe alternative for the production of recombinant antibodies. Research over the last 10 years has shown that plants can produce a variety of functional antibodies and there is now intense interest in scaling up production to commercial levels. In this review, we discuss the advantages of plants over traditional expression systems, describe how antibody expression in plants is achieved and optimized and then consider the practical issues concerning large-scale molecular farming in plants. The first plant-produced therapeutic antibodies are already in clinical trials, and, given the economic benefits of this production system, we are likely to see many more recombinant antibodies produced in this manner in the future.

Key words: Recombinant protein; transgenic plant; antibody production; purification; biotechnology.

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Schillberg
    • 1
  • R. Fischer
    • 1
  • N. Emans
    • 2
  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, IME, Grafschaft, Auf dem Aberg 1, 57392 Schmallenberg (Germany)DE
  2. 2.Institute for Molecular Biotechnology, Biology VII, RWTH Aachen, Worringerweg 1, 52074 Aachen (Germany), Fax: + 49 241 871062, e-mail: fischer@molbiotech.rwth-aachen.deDE