Agrotecnio aims to become a reference in Europe addressing all the key elements of the food production chain in an integrated way focusing on target crops and animals of commercial importance, rather than model systems. This later aspect sets our centre apart from other centers which focus on fundamental science and/or model plant and animal systems. As a result we should be able to address fundamental and important questions in the crop/animal of interest and results from our research will be directly and immediately applicable to our target organism. [Més informació]
Protein microbicides against HIV can help to prevent infection but they are required in large, repetitive doses. This makes current fermenter-based production systems prohibitively expensive. Plants are advantageous as production platforms because they offer a safe, economical and scalable alternative, and cereals such as rice are particularly attractive because they could allow pharmaceutical proteins to be produced economically and on a large scale in developing countries. Pharmaceutical proteins can also be stored as unprocessed seed, circumventing the need for a cold chain. Here, we report the development of transgenic rice plants expressing the HIV-neutralizing antibody 2G12 in the endosperm. Surprisingly for an antibody expressed in plants, the heavy chain was predominantly aglycosylated. Nevertheless, the heavy and light chains assembled into functional antibodies with more potent HIV-neutralizing activity than other plant-derived forms of 2G12 bearing typical high-mannose or plant complex-type glycans. Immunolocalization experiments showed that the assembled antibody accumulated predominantly in protein storage vacuoles but also induced the formation of novel, spherical storage compartments surrounded by ribosomes indicating that they originated from the endoplasmic reticulum. The comparison of wild-type and transgenic plants at the transcriptomic and proteomic levels indicated that endogenous genes related to starch biosynthesis were down-regulated in the endosperm of the transgenic plants, whereas genes encoding prolamin and glutaredoxin-C8 were up-regulated. Our data provide insight into factors that affect the functional efficacy of neutralizing antibodies in plants and the impact of recombinant proteins on endogenous gene expression.