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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 932161, 10 pages
Review Article

Gene Delivery into Plant Cells for Recombinant Protein Production

1Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccinology, The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, 1001 S. McAllister Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
2School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA

Received 4 September 2014; Accepted 17 November 2014

Academic Editor: Pedro H. Oliveira

Copyright © 2015 Qiang Chen and Huafang Lai. 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.


Recombinant proteins are primarily produced from cultures of mammalian, insect, and bacteria cells. In recent years, the development of deconstructed virus-based vectors has allowed plants to become a viable platform for recombinant protein production, with advantages in versatility, speed, cost, scalability, and safety over the current production paradigms. In this paper, we review the recent progress in the methodology of agroinfiltration, a solution to overcome the challenge of transgene delivery into plant cells for large-scale manufacturing of recombinant proteins. General gene delivery methodologies in plants are first summarized, followed by extensive discussion on the application and scalability of each agroinfiltration method. New development of a spray-based agroinfiltration and its application on field-grown plants is highlighted. The discussion of agroinfiltration vectors focuses on their applications for producing complex and heteromultimeric proteins and is updated with the development of bridge vectors. Progress on agroinfiltration in Nicotiana and non-Nicotiana plant hosts is subsequently showcased in context of their applications for producing high-value human biologics and low-cost and high-volume industrial enzymes. These new advancements in agroinfiltration greatly enhance the robustness and scalability of transgene delivery in plants, facilitating the adoption of plant transient expression systems for manufacturing recombinant proteins with a broad range of applications.