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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 106783, 10 pages
Research Article

A Novel System for Rapid and Cost-Effective Production of Detection and Diagnostic Reagents of West Nile Virus in Plants

1The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
2College of Technology and Innovation, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ 85212, USA

Received 1 August 2011; Accepted 2 September 2011

Academic Editor: Bradley J. Blitvich

Copyright © 2012 Junyun He et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The threat of West Nile virus (WNV) epidemics necessitates the development of a technology platform that can produce reagents to support detection and diagnosis rapidly and inexpensively. A plant expression system is attractive for protein production due to its low-cost and high-scalability nature and its ability to make appropriate posttranslational modifications. Here, we investigated the feasibility of using plants to produce two WNV detection and diagnostic reagents to address the current cost and scalability issues. We demonstrated that WNV DIII antigen and E16 monoclonal antibody are rapidly produced at high levels in two plant species and are easily purified. Furthermore, they are effective in identifying WNV and in detecting human IgM response to WNV infection. E16 mAb does not cross-react with other flaviviruses, therefore, is valuable for improving diagnostic accuracy. This study provides a proof of principle for using plants as a robust and economical system to produce diagnostic reagents for arboviruses.