, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 127-135

Oral immunization of mice with transgenic tomato fruit expressing respiratory syncytial virus-F protein induces a systemic immune response

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Abstract

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the most important pathogens of infancy and early childhood. Here a fruit-based edible subunit vaccine against RSV was developed by expressing the RSV fusion (F) protein gene in transgenic tomato plants. The F-gene was expressed in ripening tomato fruit under the control of the fruit-specific E8 promoter. Oral immunization of mice with ripe transgenic tomato fruits led to the induction of both serum and mucosal RSV-F specific antibodies. The ratio of immunoglobulin subclasses produced in response to immunization suggested that a type 1 T-helper cell immune response was preferentially induced. Serum antibodies showed an increased titer when the immunized mice were exposed to inactivated RSV antigen.