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Protein Expr Purif. 2007 Dec;56(2):153-9. Epub 2007 Jun 7.

Transient expression of the ectodomain of matrix protein 2 (M2e) of avian influenza A virus in plants.

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Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory, Plant Sciences Institute, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.


We have previously reported an expression system based on the capsid protein gene (CP) of cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) placed under transcriptional control of a potato virus X (PVX)-based vector. PVX-expressed CMV CP formed virus-like particles, which served as carriers for heterologous antigens of the Newcastle disease virus (NDV). In this work, we applied our expression tool toward the development of plant-derived vaccine candidate against avian influenza A virus. Twenty-three amino acid-long extracellular domain of the viral M2 protein (M2e) was engineered into the internal motif 5 of CMV CP and the recombinant gene then was transiently expressed in plants through a PVX vector. Chimeric CMV capsids reacted with specific antibodies produced to synthetic M2e epitope of the H5N1 strain of the virus. In addition, CMV CP-M2e protein was expressed to high levels in Escherichia coli bacterial cells and was recognized by antibodies to both CMV and M2e. This initial study demonstrates the feasibility of using plant virus-based vectors for expression of antigenic epitopes of H5N1 avian influenza in plants.

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