Author(s): Yusibov V, Shivprasad S, Turpen TH, Dawson W, Koprowski H
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Abstract The potential of plant virus-based transient expression vectors is substantial. One objective is the production of large quantities of foreign peptides or proteins. At least one commercial group (Biosource Technologies) is producing large quantities of product in the field, has built factories to process truck-loads of material and soon expects to market virus-generated products. In the laboratory, large amounts of protein have been produced for structural or biochemical analyses. An important aspect of producing large amounts of a protein or peptide is to make the product easily purifiable. This has been done by attaching peptides or proteins to easily purified units such as virion particles or by exporting proteins to the apoplast so that purification begins with a highly enriched product. For plant molecular biology, virus-based vectors have been useful in identifying previously unknown genes by overexpression or silencing or by expression in different genotypes. Also, foreign peptides fused to virions are being used as immunogens for development of antisera for experimental use or as injected or edible vaccines for medical use. As with liposomes and microcapsules, plant cells and plant viruses are also expected to provide natural protection for the passage of antigen through the gastrointestinal tract. Perhaps the greatest advantage of plant virus-based transient expression vectors is their host, plants. For the production of large amounts of commercial products, plants are one of the most economical and productive sources of biomass. They also present the advantages of lack of contamination with animal pathogens, relative ease of genetic manipulation and the presence eukaryotic protein modification machinery.
This article was published in Curr Top Microbiol Immunol
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