J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2005, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (8): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2005.00145.x

• Research Articles •    

Transgenic Tobacco Expressing a Modified VP6 Gene Protects Mice Against Rotavirus Infection

Jiang-Li DONG, Bo ZHOU, Gang SHENG,Tao WANG   

Abstract: Elevated expression of the rotavirus VP6 antigen in transgenic plants is a critical factor in the development of a safe and effective rotavirus vaccine. Using codon optimization, a gene that encodes the inner capsid protein VP6 of the human group A rotavirus was synthesized (sVP6). The VP6 and sVp6 genes were transformed into tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) plants using Agrobacterium tumefaciens . The expression level of the sVP6 gene in transgenic plants was 3.8–34-fold higher than that of controls containing the non-modified VP6 gene, accounting for up to 0.34% of the total soluble protein (TSP). Then, BALB/c female mice that had been gavaged weekly with 10 mg TSP containing 34 g VP6 protein, in which VP6-specific serum IgG and mucosal IgA antibodies were investigated. The severity and duration of diarrhea caused by simian rotavirus SA-11 challenge were reduced significantly in passively immunized pups, which indicates that anti-VP6 antibodies generated in orally immunized female mice can be passed onto pups and provide heterotypic protection. An edible vaccine based on the VP6 of human rotavirus group A could provide a means to protect children and young animals from severe acute diarrhea.

Key words: capsid protein VP6, edible vaccine, oral immunogenicity, rotavirus, tobacco, transgenic plants.

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