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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Apr 17;104(16):6864-9. Epub 2007 Apr 11.

Smallpox subunit vaccine produced in Planta confers protection in mice.

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Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107-6799, USA.


We report here the in planta production of the recombinant vaccinia virus B5 antigenic domain (pB5), an attractive component of a subunit vaccine against smallpox. The antigenic domain was expressed by using efficient transient and constitutive plant expression systems and tested by various immunization routes in two animal models. Whereas oral administration in mice or the minipig with collard-derived insoluble pB5 did not generate an anti-B5 immune response, intranasal administration of soluble pB5 led to a rise of B5-specific immunoglobulins, and parenteral immunization led to a strong anti-B5 immune response in both mice and the minipig. Mice immunized i.m. with pB5 generated an antibody response that reduced virus spread in vitro and conferred protection from challenge with a lethal dose of vaccinia virus. These results indicate the feasibility of producing safe and inexpensive subunit vaccines by using plant production systems.

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