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1.  High-level HIV-1 Nef transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana using the P19 gene silencing suppressor protein of Artichoke Mottled Crinckle Virus 
BMC Biotechnology  2009;9:96.
Background
In recent years, different HIV antigens have been successfully expressed in plants by either stable transformation or transient expression systems. Among HIV proteins, Nef is considered a promising target for the formulation of a multi-component vaccine due to its implication in the first steps of viral infection. Attempts to express Nef as a single protein product (not fused to a stabilizing protein) in transgenic plants resulted in disappointingly low yields (about 0.5% of total soluble protein). In this work we describe a transient expression system based on co-agroinfiltration of plant virus gene silencing suppressor proteins in Nicotiana benthamiana, followed by a two-step affinity purification protocol of plant-derived Nef.
Results
The effect of three gene silencing viral suppressor proteins (P25 of Potato Virus X, P19 of either Artichoke Mottled Crinckle virus and Tomato Bushy Stunt virus) on Nef transient expression yield was evaluated. The P19 protein of Artichoke Mottled Crinckle virus (AMCV-P19) gave the highest expression yield in vacuum co-agroinfiltration experiments reaching 1.3% of total soluble protein, a level almost three times higher than that previously reported in stable transgenic plants. The high yield observed in the co-agroinfiltrated plants was correlated to a remarkable decrease of Nef-specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) indicating an effective modulation of RNA silencing mechanisms by AMCV-P19. Interestingly, we also showed that expression levels in top leaves of vacuum co-agroinfiltrated plants were noticeably reduced compared to bottom leaves. Moreover, purification of Nef from agroinfiltrated tissue was achieved by a two-step immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography protocol with yields of 250 ng/g of fresh tissue.
Conclusion
We demonstrated that expression level of HIV-1 Nef in plant can be improved using a transient expression system enhanced by the AMCV-P19 gene silencing suppressor protein. Moreover, plant-derived Nef was purified, with enhanced yield, exploiting a two-step purification protocol. These results represent a first step towards the development of a plant-derived HIV vaccine.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-9-96
PMCID: PMC2785776  PMID: 19930574
2.  Expression, intracellular targeting and purification of HIV Nef variants in tobacco cells 
BMC Biotechnology  2007;7:12.
Background
Plants may represent excellent alternatives to classical heterologous protein expression systems, especially for the production of biopharmaceuticals and vaccine components. Modern vaccines are becoming increasingly complex, with the incorporation of multiple antigens. Approaches towards developing an HIV vaccine appear to confirm this, with a combination of candidate antigens. Among these, HIV-Nef is considered a promising target for vaccine development because immune responses directed against this viral protein could help to control the initial steps of viral infection and to reduce viral loads and spreading. Two isoforms of Nef protein can be found in cells: a full-length N-terminal myristoylated form (p27, 27 kDa) and a truncated form (p25, 25 kDa). Here we report the expression and purification of HIV Nef from transgenic tobacco.
Results
We designed constructs to direct the expression of p25 and p27 Nef to either the cytosol or the secretory pathway. We tested these constructs by transient expression in tobacco protoplasts. Cytosolic Nef polypeptides are correctly synthesised and are stable. The same is not true for Nef polypeptides targeted to the secretory pathway by virtue of a signal peptide. We therefore generated transgenic plants expressing cytosolic, full length or truncated Nef. Expression levels were variable, but in some lines they averaged 0.7% of total soluble proteins. Hexahistidine-tagged Nef was easily purified from transgenic tissue in a one-step procedure.
Conclusion
We have shown that transient expression can help to rapidly determine the best cellular compartment for accumulation of a recombinant protein. We have successfully expressed HIV Nef polypeptides in the cytosol of transgenic tobacco plants. The proteins can easily be purified from transgenic tissue.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-7-12
PMCID: PMC1808453  PMID: 17324250
3.  In planta production of two peptides of the Classical Swine Fever Virus (CSFV) E2 glycoprotein fused to the coat protein of potato virus X 
BMC Biotechnology  2006;6:29.
Background
Classical Swine Fever (CSFV) is one of the most important viral infectious diseases affecting wild boars and domestic pigs. The etiological agent of the disease is the CSF virus, a single stranded RNA virus belonging to the family Flaviviridae.
All preventive measures in domestic pigs have been focused in interrupting the chain of infection and in avoiding the spread of CSFV within wild boars as well as interrupting transmission from wild boars to domestic pigs. The use of plant based vaccine against CSFV would be advantageous as plant organs can be distributed without the need of particular treatments such as refrigeration and therefore large areas, populated by wild animals, could be easily covered.
Results
We report the in planta production of peptides of the classical swine fever (CSF) E2 glycoprotein fused to the coat protein of potato virus X. RT-PCR studies demonstrated that the peptide encoding sequences are correctly retained in the PVX construct after three sequential passage in Nicotiana benthamiana plants. Sequence analysis of RT-PCR products confirmed that the epitope coding sequences are replicated with high fidelity during PVX infection. Partially purified virions were able to induce an immune response in rabbits.
Conclusion
Previous reports have demonstrated that E2 synthetic peptides can efficiently induce an immunoprotective response in immunogenized animals. In this work we have showed that E2 peptides can be expressed in planta by using a modified PVX vector. These results are particularly promising for designing strategies for disease containment in areas inhabited by wild boars.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-6-29
PMCID: PMC1534020  PMID: 16792815

Results 1-3 (3)