Transient Expression of Biologically Active Anti-rabies Virus Monoclonal Antibody in Tobacco Leaves


1 Department of Molecular Biology, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Medical Nanotechnology, School of Medicine, International Campus, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Rabies, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Biotechnology, Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST), Tehran, Iran



Background: Rabies virus is a neurotropic virus that causes fatal, but, a preventable disease in mammals. Administration of rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) is essential for the post-exposure of the prophylaxis to prevent the disease. However, replacement of polyclonal RIGs with alternative monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that are capable of neutralizing rabies virus has been recommended.
Objectives: Here, we have investigated the transient expression of the full-size human MAb against rabies virus glycoprotein; the MAb SO57 in the tobacco plants using vacuum agro-infi ltration. Previously, stably transformed plants expressing the MAb have been reported.
Materials and Methods: In this study three vectors carrying the codon-optimized genes for the heavy or light chain and p19 silencing-suppressor were constructed. These vectors were co-infi ltrated into Nicotiana tabacum leaves and the transgenes were expressed.
Results: Dot blot, Western blotting, ELISA, and in vitro neutralization assays of the plant extracts showed that the human MAb could assemble in tobacco leaves and was able to neutralize rabies virus.
Conclusions: This study is the fi rst report of transient expression of human MAb SO57 gene in tobacco plant within a few days after vacuum agro-infiltration.


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