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Biotechnol Prog. 2007 Nov-Dec;23(6):1277-85. Epub 2007 Nov 10.

High-level transient production of a heterologous protein in plants by optimizing induction of a chemically inducible viral amplicon expression system.

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Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of California at Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA.


We have demonstrated that the method of chemical induction using a chemically inducible viral amplicon expression system can be optimized to increase expression of a heterologous protein in plants. A cucumber mosaic virus inducible viral amplicon (CMViva) expression system was used to transiently produce a recombinant human blood protein, alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT), by co-infiltrating intact and detached Nicotiana benthamiana leaves with two Agrobacterium tumefaciens strains, one containing the CMViva expression cassette carrying the AAT gene and the other containing a binary vector carrying the gene silencing suppressor p19. Infiltrated plants were induced by either topical applications or pressure injections and inducer was applied at either a single or multiple time points. Applying induction solution every 2 days via topical application resulted in increasing maximum levels of biologically functional rAAT from 0.71% to 1.3% of the total soluble protein (TSP) in detached plant leaves, a 1.8-fold improvement. Multiple applications of induction solution via pressure injection into intact leaves resulted in maximum levels of biologically functional rAAT being elevated 3-fold up to 2.4% of TSP compared to 0.8% of TSP when using the conventional method of a single topical application, and expression levels remained high 6 days post-induction. Overall production of rAAT in intact leaves was found to have a maximum level of 5.8% of TSP or 390 mg rAAT per kg leaf tissue when applying multiple injections of chemical induction solution.

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