, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 177-185

A self-contained system for the field production of plant recombinant interleukin-10

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The production of pharmaceutical proteins in plants is creating a broad spectrum of new high-value traits in traditional crop species. As the production of these recombinant proteins moves from bench to field scale, containment and the presence of unwanted secondary metabolites are significant practical issues. We have developed a hybrid male-sterile low-alkaloid tobacco (MSLA) production platform. Recombinant protein is produced in leaves that are harvested prior to flowering. If considered for direct in vivo mammalian use the low-alkaloid background genotype addresses concerns about nicotine, and male sterility further reduces the risk of gene leakage. We have applied this system to the production of human interleukin-10 (phIL-10), a contra-inflammatory cytokine with potential application in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune diseases. Transgenic low-alkaloid tobacco lines properly assembled a biologically active phIL-10 homodimer. Hybrids made by crossing a single homozygous high-expressing phIL-10 line with a MSLA female were field tested in a high density production system and harvested after 30 days. Recombinant phIL-10 yields were found to be similar in the hybrids and the homozygous control. MSLA tobacco is a practical, self-contained system for the production of plant recombinant proteins.