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J Biotechnol. 2005 Sep 22;119(1):1-14.

High level expression of surface glycoprotein of rabies virus in tobacco leaves and its immunoprotective activity in mice.

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  • 1National Botanical Research Institute, Rana Pratap Marg, Lucknow 226001, India.


A synthetic gene coding for the surface glycoprotein (G protein) of rabies virus was strategically designed to achieve high-level expression in transgenic plants. The native signal peptide was replaced by that of the pathogenesis related protein, PR-S of Nicotiana tabacum. An endoplasmic reticulum retention signal was included at C-terminus of the G protein. Tobacco plants were genetically engineered by nuclear transformation. Selected transgenic lines expressed the chimeric G protein at 0.38% of the total soluble leaf protein. Mice immunized intraperitoneally with the G protein purified from tobacco leaf microsomal fraction elicited high level of immune response as compared to the inactivated commercial viral vaccine. The plant-derived G protein induced complete protective immunity in mice against intracerebral lethal challenge with live rabies virus. The results establish that plants can provide a safe and effective production system for the expression of immunoprotective rabies virus surface protein.

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