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Avicenna J Med Biotechnol. 2013 Apr;5(2):118-24.

Expression of Shigella flexneri ipaB Gene in Tobacco.

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  • 1Molecular Biology Unit, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran.



Shigellosis is a leading cause of diarrhea in many developing countries and although the disease can be controlled and managed with antibiotics, the constant emergence of resistant species requiring ever newer antibacterial drugs make development of an effective vaccine necessary. The bacteria are highly contagious and since immunity to Shigella is serotype-specific a multi-serotype vaccine is required for adequate protection. Proteins encoded by Shigella invasion plasmid, which are part of the Type Three Secretion System (TTSS) of this bacteria, are good candidate as vaccine targets since they are both immunogenic and conserved between different Shigella species. The advent of molecular farming, which is a low cost system, has opened up new venues for production of recombinant proteins. In view of the difficulties encountered in expressing IpaB in Escherichia coli (E. coli), the feasibility of the expression of this protein in tobacco has been investigated.


The ipaB gene was cloned in place of the Hygromycin gene in pCambia1304 containing GFP as a reporter gene. The vector was then transferred into competent Agrobacterium tumefaciens (A. tumefaciens) strain LBA4404 which was used for agro-infiltration of Nicotiana tobaccum (N. tobaccum) leaves. Transformation was confirmed by expression of GFP. The gene was also cloned in pBAD/geneIII A and transformed E. coli host containing the construct was induced using different amounts of L-arabinose as inducer. Expression of IpaB gene by both hosts was determined by Western blotting using anti-IpaB monoclonal antibody.


The data obtained showed that IpaB was expressed in plant leaves but expression in E. coli was not detectable.


This study showed that N. tobaccum is capable of expressing this protein without its specific chaperon and in levels detectable by Western blotting.


Esherichia coli; Recombinant proteins; Shigellosis; Tobacco

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