, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 471-477
Date: 27 Sep 2003

Studies on the immunogenic potential of plant-expressed cholera toxin B subunit

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Nicotiana tabacum var. Samsun was transformed via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation with a gene encoding the cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) of Vibrio cholerae, modified to contain a sequence coding for an endoplasmic reticulum retention signal (SEKDEL), under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. Total protein from the transgenic leaf tissue was isolated and an aliquot containing 5 μg recombinant CTB was injected intradermally into Balb/c (H2Kd) mice. CTB-specific serum IgG was detected in animals that had been administered plant-expressed or native purified CTB. A T-cell proliferation study using splenocytes and cytokine estimations in supernatants generated by in vitro stimulation of macrophages isolated from the immuno-primed animals was carried out. Inhibition of proliferation of T lymphocytes was observed in splenic T lymphocytes isolated from animals injected with either native or plant-expressed CTB. Macrophages isolated from mice immunised with native or plant-expressed CTB showed enhanced secretion of interleukin-10 but secretion of lipopolysaccharide-induced interleukin-12 and tumor necrosis factor alpha was inhibited. These studies suggest that plant-expressed protein behaved like native CTB with regards to effects on T-cell proliferation and cytokine levels, indicating the suitability of plant expression systems for the production of bacterial antigens, which could be used as edible vaccine. The transgene was found to be inherited in the progeny and was expressed to yield a pentameric form of CTB as evident by its interaction with GM1 ganglioside.

Communicated by H. Uchimiya