Generation and assembly of secretory antibodies in plants

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Science  05 May 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5211, pp. 716-719
DOI: 10.1126/science.7732380


Four transgenic Nicotiana tabacum plants were generated that expressed a murine monoclonal antibody kappa chain, a hybrid immunoglobulin A-G heavy chain, a murine joining chain, and a rabbit secretory component, respectively. Successive sexual crosses between these plants and filial recombinants resulted in plants that expressed all four protein chains simultaneously. These chains were assembled into a functional, high molecular weight secretory immunoglobulin that recognized the native streptococcal antigen I/II cell surface adhesion molecule. In plants, single cells are able to assemble secretory antibodies, whereas two different cell types are required in mammals. Transgenic plants may be suitable for large-scale production of recombinant secretory immunoglobulin A for passive mucosal immunotherapy. Plant cells also possess the requisite mechanisms for assembly and expression of other complex recombinant protein molecules.

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