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Ingestion of transgenic carrots expressing the Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin B subunit protects mice against cholera toxin challenge


Diarrheal diseases caused by Vibrio cholerae and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) are worldwide health problems that might be prevented with vaccines based on edible plants expressing the B subunit from either the cholera toxin (CTB) or the E. coli heat labile toxin (LTB). In this work we analyzed the immunity induced in Balb/c mice by ingestion of three weekly doses of 10 μg of LTB derived from transgenic carrot material. Although the anti-LTB serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) and intestinal IgA antibody responses were higher with 10 μg-doses of pure bacterial recombinant LTB (rLTB), the transgenic carrot material also elicited significant serum and intestinal antibody responses. Serum anti-LTB IgG1 antibodies predominated over IgG2a antibodies, suggesting that mainly Th2 responses were induced. A decrease of intestinal fluid accumulation after cholera toxin challenge was observed in mice immunized with either rLTB or LTB-containing carrot material. These results demonstrate that ingestion of carrot-derived LTB induces antitoxin systemic and intestinal immunity in mice and suggest that transgenic carrots expressing LTB may be used as an effective edible vaccine against cholera and ETEC diarrhea in humans.

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We wish to thank Dr. John Clements for his generous gift of pure rLTB. This research was partially funded by an UCMexUS grant to RLR as well as grant 37048-B to AAS and graduate scholarships to SRM and RSG from CONACYT (Mexico).

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Correspondence to Ángel Gabriel Alpuche-Solís.

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Communicated by P. Lakshmanan.

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Rosales-Mendoza, S., Soria-Guerra, R.E., López-Revilla, R. et al. Ingestion of transgenic carrots expressing the Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin B subunit protects mice against cholera toxin challenge. Plant Cell Rep 27, 79–84 (2008).

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  • Cholera
  • ETEC
  • Edible vaccine
  • Protective immunity