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Virology News
Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people. And other things.
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Production of protective bluetongue virus-like particle vaccine in plants

Production of protective bluetongue virus-like particle vaccine in plants | Virology News | Scoop.it

Plant expression systems based on nonreplicating virus-based vectors can be used for the simultaneous expression of multiple genes within the same cell. They therefore have great potential for the production of heteromultimeric protein complexes. This work describes the efficient plant-based production and assembly of Bluetongue virus-like particles (VLPs), requiring the simultaneous expression of four distinct proteins in varying amounts. Such particles have the potential to serve as a safe and effective vaccine against Bluetongue virus (BTV), which causes high mortality rates in ruminants and thus has a severe effect on the livestock trade. Here, VLPs produced and assembled in Nicotiana benthamiana using the cowpea mosaic virus-based HyperTrans (CPMV-HT) and associated pEAQ plant transient expression vector system were shown to elicit a strong antibody response in sheep. Furthermore, they provided protective immunity against a challenge with a South African BTV-8 field isolate.

 

The results show that transient expression can be used to produce immunologically relevant complex heteromultimeric structures in plants in a matter of days. The results have implications beyond the realm of veterinary vaccines and could be applied to the production of VLPs for human use or the coexpression of multiple enzymes for the manipulation of metabolic pathways.

 Generic reovirus-like particle by Russell Kightley Media
Ed Rybicki's insight:

While this has not been subject to the same hype as the FMDV VLPs featured here and all over the media recently, it is at least as big a deal - and yes, we are involved, and yes, we are highly stoked with what we did.

 

Because this is a four-protein virus-like particle, expressed via transient expression in N benthamiana, and assembled in yields high enough to allow purification of particles that were protective in a live virus challenge experiment in sheep.

 

Yes, protective in actual sheep, and competitive with the standard attentuated live virus vaccine - which is a seriously big deal!

 

Plus the electron micrographs of the particles are SO cool.  Congratulations, Eva and team, you have done really, really well.

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Frank Sainsbury's comment, May 17, 2013 12:45 AM
Hear, hear!!
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Scientists Built a Fake Virus Shell to Make a Sterile, Zombified Vaccine

Scientists Built a Fake Virus Shell to Make a Sterile, Zombified Vaccine | Virology News | Scoop.it
Vaccines beef up your immune system by giving it a little taste of a weak—or dead—version of diseases. Now researchers in the UK have developed an alternative approach:
Ed Rybicki's insight:

There's a new one: zombified virus!!  So basically, just virus-like particles - like the Hepatitis B virus vaccine that's been on sale for years, and the Human papillomavirus vaccines that have been blockbusting the industry in the last couple.

 

And not new, either: others have previously tried the same approach - in plants, no less - and been successful.  But they were from Argentina.

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Virus-like particles produced in plants as potential vaccines

Virus-like particles produced in plants as potential vaccines | Virology News | Scoop.it

Virus-like particles (VLPs) have been produced as candidate vaccines in plants virtually since the introduction of biofarming. Even today, VLPs remain the best candidates for safe, immunogenic, efficacious and inexpensive vaccines. Well-characterized human animal viruses such as HBV, HCV, HIV and HPV, rotaviruses, norovirus, foot and mouth disease viruses and even influenza virus proteins have all been successfully investigated for VLP formation. Proteins have been produced in transgenic plants and via transient expression techniques; simple structures, structures depending on more than one protein, naked and enveloped particles have all been made. There have been multiple proofs of concept, more than a few proofs of efficacy, and several products moved into human trials. This review will cover the history of VLP production in plants, and will explore a few examples in detail to illustrate the potential of such a mode of production for human and animal medicine.

 Image of HIV-1 Pr55Gag VLPs produced in plants, courtesy of Ann Jaffray, UCT.  Bar = 100 nm
Ed Rybicki's insight:

OK, yes, blowing my own trumpet...but it will put the recent news of FMDV VLPs in perspective, AND point up the fact that these can be (and probably have been) produced in plants - as well as other even more complicated particles, like human rotavirus and bluetongue virus.

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