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J Virol Methods. 2006 Jan;131(1):10-5. Epub 2005 Aug 19.

The use of viral vectors to produce hepatitis B virus core particles in plants.

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  • 1Laboratory of Genetic Engineering, Centre Bioengineering RAS, Prospekt 60-Letya Oktyabrya, 7/1, 117312 Moscow, Russian Federation.


The expression and assembly of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) nucleocapsid protein (HBcAg) were investigated in plants using viral vectors. Constructs based on either Potato virus X (PVX) or Cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) containing the sequence of HBcAg were able to infect the appropriate host plants and remained genetically stable during infection. Analysis of HBcAg expression revealed that the protein can self-assemble into core-like particles and that the assembled material could be partially purified by differential centrifugation. Thus, the use of viral vectors can be considered a practical method for rapid production of assembled HBcAg particles in plants. This approach provides a means whereby a variety of chimaeric particles can be assessed quickly and cheaply for various diagnostic and vaccine applications.

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