Transgenic Nicotiana tabacum seeds expressing the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Alanine- and Proline-rich antigen

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The glycoprotein APA (Alanine- and Proline-rich Antigen, a 45/47 kDa antigen complex, Rv1860) is considered as a major immunodominant antigen secreted by M. tuberculosis. This antigen has proved to be highly immunogenic in experimental models and humans, presenting a significant potential for further development of a new vaccine for tuberculosis. Glycosylation plays a key role in the immunogenicity of the APA protein. Because plants are known to promote post-translational modification such as glycosylation and to be one of the most economic and safe hosts for recombinant protein expression, we have over expressed the APA protein in transgenic tobacco plants aiming to produce a glycosylated version of the protein. Seeds are known to be a well-suited organ to accumulate recombinant proteins, due to low protease activity and higher protein stability. We used a seed-specific promoter from sorghum, a signal peptide to target the protein to the endoplasmic reticulum and ultimately in the protein storage vacuoles. We show that the recombinant protein accumulated in the seeds had similar isoelectric point and molecular weight compared with the native protein. These findings demonstrate the ability of tobacco plants to produce glycosylated APA protein, opening the way for the development of secure, effective and versatile vaccines or therapeutic proteins against tuberculosis.
Módolo DG, Horn CS., Soares JS.M., Yunes JA., Lima LM., Sousa SM., et al. Transgenic Nicotiana tabacum seeds expressing the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Alanine- and Proline-rich antigen. AMB Express. 2018;8:178. doi:10.1186/s13568-018-0708-y.
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