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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 28;8(11):e80712. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080712. eCollection 2013.

Production of hybrid-IgG/IgA plantibodies with neutralizing activity against Shiga toxin 1.

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Laboratory of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Shizuoka, Shizuoka City, Shizuoka, Japan.


Shiga toxin 1 (Stx1) is a virulence factor of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, such as the O157:H7 strain. In the intestines, secretory IgA (SIgA) is a major component of the immune defense against pathogens and toxins. To form SIgA, the production of dimeric IgA that retains biological activity is an important step. We previously established hybrid-IgG/IgA having variable regions of the IgG specific for the binding subunit of Stx1 (Stx1B) and the heavy chain constant region of IgA. If hybrid-IgG/IgA cDNAs can be expressed in plants, therapeutic or preventive effects may be expected in people eating those plants containing a "plantibody". Here, we established transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana expressing dimeric hybrid-IgG/IgA. The heavy and light chain genes were placed under the control of a bidirectional promoter and terminator of the chlorophyll a/b-binding protein of Arabidopsis thaliana (expression cassette). This expression cassette and the J chain gene were subcloned into a single binary vector, which was then introduced into A. thaliana by means of the Agrobacterium method. Expression and assembly of the dimeric hybrid-IgG/IgA in plants were revealed by ELISA and immunoblotting. The hybrid-IgG/IgA bound to Stx1B and inhibited Stx1B binding to Gb3, as demonstrated by ELISA. When Stx1 holotoxin was pre-treated with the resulting plantibody, the cytotoxicity of Stx1 was inhibited. The toxin neutralization was also demonstrated by means of several assays including Stx1-induced phosphatidylserine translocation on the plasma membrane, caspase-3 activation and 180 base-pair DNA ladder formation due to inter-nucleosomal cleavage. These results indicate that edible plants containing hybrid-IgG/IgA against Stx1B have the potential to be used for immunotherapy against Stx1-caused food poisoning.

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