Expression of dengue-3 premembrane and envelope polyprotein in lettuce chloroplasts
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- Kanagaraj, A.P., Verma, D. & Daniell, H. Plant Mol Biol (2011) 76: 323. doi:10.1007/s11103-011-9766-0
Dengue is an acute febrile viral disease with >100 million infections occurring each year and more than half of the world population is at risk. Global resurgence of dengue in many urban centers of the tropics is a major concern. Therefore, development of a successful vaccine is urgently needed that is economical and provide long-lasting protection from dengue virus infections. In this manuscript, we report expression of dengue-3 serotype polyprotein (prM/E) consisting of part of capsid, complete premembrane (prM) and truncated envelope (E) protein in an edible crop lettuce. The dengue sequence was controlled by endogenous Lactuca sativapsbA regulatory elements. PCR and Southern blot analysis confirmed transgene integration into the lettuce chloroplast genome via homologous recombination at the trnI/trnA intergenic spacer region. Western blot analysis showed expression of polyprotein prM/E in different forms as monomers (~65 kDa) or possibly heterodimers (~130 kDa) or multimers. Multimers were solubilized into monomers using guanidine hydrochloride. Transplastomic lettuce plants expressing dengue prM/E vaccine antigens grew normally and transgenes were inherited in the T1 progeny without any segregation. Transmission electron microscopy showed the presence of virus-like particles of ~20 nm diameter in chloroplast extracts of transplastomic lettuce expressing prM/E proteins, but not in untransformed plants. The prM/E antigens expressed in lettuce chloroplasts should offer a potential source for investigating an oral Dengue vaccine.