Scientific publications

High-density seedling expression system for the production of bioactive human cardiotrophin-1, a potential therapeutic cytokine, in transgenic tobacco chloroplasts

Farran I, Río-Manterola F, Iñiguez M, Gárate S, Prieto J, Mingo-Castel AM.
Instituto de Agrobiotecnología, UPNA-CSIC-Gobierno de Navarra, Campus Arrosadía, 31006 Pamplona, Spain.

Magazine: Plant Biotechnology Journal

Date: Jun 1, 2008


Histidine-tagged human cardiotrophin-1 (hCT-1), a recently discovered cytokine with excellent therapeutic potential, was expressed in tobacco chloroplasts under the transcriptional and translational control of two different promoters (rrn and psbA) and 5'-untranslated regions (5'-UTRs) (psbA and phage T7 gene 10).

The psbA 5'-UTR promotes recombinant hCT-1 (rhCT-1) accumulation in chloroplasts at higher levels (eight-fold) than those obtained for the phage T7 gene 10 5'-UTR, regardless of the promoter used, indicating that the correct choice of translational control element is most important for protein production in chloroplasts. The maximum level of rhCT-1 achieved was 1.14 mg/g fresh weight (equivalent to 5% of total soluble protein) with the psbA promoter and 5'-UTR in young leaves harvested after 32 h of continuous light, although the bioactivity was significantly lower (approximately 35%) than that of commercial hCT-1. However, harvesting in the dark or after 12 h of light did not result in a significant decrease in the bioactivity of rhCT-1, suggesting that 32 h of over-lighting affects the biological activity of rhCT-1. Because high levels of rhCT-1 accumulation took place mainly in young leaves, it is proposed that seedlings should be used in a 'closed system' unit, yielding up to 3.2 kg per year of rhCT-1.

This amount would be sufficient to meet the estimated annual worldwide needs of hCT-1 for liver transplantation surgery in a cost-effective manner. Furthermore, our strategy is an environmentally friendly method for the production of plant-based biopharmaceuticals.

CITATION  Plant Biotechnol J. 2008 Jun;6(5):516-27

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