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Plant Cell Rep. 2007 Jul;26(7):961-8. Epub 2007 Feb 16.

Transgenic tomatoes express an antigenic polypeptide containing epitopes of the diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus exotoxins, encoded by a synthetic gene.

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  • 1División de Biología Molecular, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, Camino a la Presa San José 2055, 78216 San Luis Potosí, S.L.P., Mexico.


A current priority of vaccinology is the development of multicomponent vaccines that protect against several pathogens. The diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccine prevents the symptoms of three serious and often fatal diseases due to the exotoxins produced by Corynebacterium diphteriae, Bordetella pertussis and Clostridium tetani. We are attempting to develop an edible DPT multicomponent vaccine in plants, based on the fusion of protective exotoxin epitopes encoded by synthetic genes. By means of Agrobacterium mediated transformation we generated transgenic tomatoes with a plant-optimised synthetic gene encoding a novel polypeptide containing two adjuvant and six DPT immunoprotective exotoxin epitopes joined by peptide linkers. In transformed tomato plants, integration of the synthetic DPT (sDPT) gene detected by PCR was confirmed by Southern blot, and specific transcripts of the expected molecular size were detected by RT-PCR. Expression of the putative polypeptide encoded by the sDPT gene was detected by immunoassay with specific antibodies to the diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus exotoxins. The sDPT gene is therefore integrated, transcribed and translated as the expected recombinant sDPT multiepitope polypeptide in transgenic tomatoes that constitute a potential edible vaccine.

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