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Avian Dis. 2004 Sep;48(3):663-8.

Immunization of chickens with VP2 protein of infectious bursal disease virus expressed in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Department of Poultry Science, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA.


Transgenic plants represent a safe, effective, and inexpensive way to produce vaccines. The immunogenicity of VP2 protein of an infectious bursal disease (IBD) virus variant E isolate expressed in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana was compared with a commercial vaccine in specific-pathogen-free broiler chickens. The VP2 coding sequence was isolated and integrated into A. thaliana genome by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Soluble VP2 expressed in transgenic plants was used to immunize chickens. Chickens receiving oral immunization with plant-derived VP2 at 1 and 3 wk of age had an antibody response using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and 80% protection against challenge infection at 4 wk. Chickens primed with a commercial vaccine at 1 wk followed by an oral booster with VP2 expressed in plants at 3 wk of age showed 90% protection. Chickens immunized with a commercial vaccine at 1 and 3 wk showed 78% protection. Results supported the efficacy of plant-produced VP2 as a vaccine against IBD.

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