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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 274346, 14 pages
Research Article

Expression and Immunogenicity of the Mycobacterial Ag85B/ESAT-6 Antigens Produced in Transgenic Plants by Elastin-Like Peptide Fusion Strategy

1Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Corrensstrasse 3, 06466 Gatersleben, Germany
2Institute of Biochemistry, Christian Albrechts University, Olshausenstrasse 40, 24118 Kiel, Germany
3CIRAD, UMR CMAEE, 34398 Montpellier, France
4Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), UR1282, Infectiologie Animale et Santé Publique, 37380, Nouzilly (Tours), France
5Laboratoire “Microorganismes: Génome et Environnement” (LMGE), Equipe Interactions Hôtes-Parasites, 24, avenue des landais, 63177 Aubière Cedex, France
6CIRAD, UMR 17, 34398 Montpellier, France

Received 3 September 2009; Accepted 15 January 2010

Academic Editor: Don Mark Estes

Copyright © 2010 Doreen Manuela Floss 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.


This study explored a novel system combining plant-based production and the elastin-like peptide (ELP) fusion strategy to produce vaccinal antigens against tuberculosis. Transgenic tobacco plants expressing the mycobacterial antigens Ag85B and ESAT-6 fused to ELP (TBAg-ELP) were generated. Purified TBAg-ELP was obtained by the highly efficient, cost-effective, inverse transition cycling (ICT) method and tested in mice. Furthermore, safety and immunogenicity of the crude tobacco leaf extracts were assessed in piglets. Antibodies recognizing mycobacterial antigens were produced in mice and piglets. A T-cell immune response able to recognize the native mycobacterial antigens was detected in mice. These findings showed that the native Ag85B and ESAT-6 mycobacterial B- and T-cell epitopes were conserved in the plant-expressed TBAg-ELP. This study presents the first results of an efficient plant-expression system, relying on the elastin-like peptide fusion strategy, to produce a safe and immunogenic mycobacterial Ag85B-ESAT-6 fusion protein as a potential vaccine candidate against tuberculosis.