, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 255-263

Apoplastic and cytosolic expression of full‐size antibodies and antibody fragments in Nicotiana tabacum

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We compared the expression of a functional recombinant TMV‐specific full‐size antibody (rAb29) in both the apoplast and cytosol of tobacco plants and a single chain antibody fragment (scFv29), derived from rAb29, was expressed in the cytosol. Cloned heavy and light chain cDNAs of full‐size rAb29, which binds to TMV coat protein monomers, were integrated into the plant expression vector pSS. The full‐size rAb29 was expressed in the cytosol and targeted to the apoplast by including the original murine antibody leader sequences. Levels of functional full‐size rAb29 expression were high in the apoplast (up to 8.5 μg per gram leaf tissue), whereas cytosolic expression was low or at the ELISA detection limit. Sequences of the variable domains of rAb29 light and heavy chain were used to generate the single chain antibody scFv29, which was expressed in the periplasmic space of E.coli and showed the same binding specificity as full‐size rAb29. In addition, scFv29 was functionally expressed in the cytosol of tobacco plants and plant derived scFv29 maintained same binding specificity to TMV‐coat protein monomers as rAb29.