Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version

September 2003


Published in Vaccine 21 (2003) 4201–4209.


A tobacco mosaic virus (TMV)-based vector was utilized for expression of a cytosolic form of the bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV-1) protein glycoprotein D (gDc). Nicotiana benthamiana plants were harvested 7 days after inoculation with RNA transcripts derived from the TMV-gDc recombinant virus. Recombinant gDc protein of expected electrophoretic mobility accumulated in inoculated leaves to a concentration of about 20 μg/g of fresh leaf tissue. Oil-based vaccines were formulated with crude foliar extracts to immunize mice parentally. After a single injection, animals developed a sustained and specific response to both the isolated gD and native virus particles. Cattle vaccinated with the same gDc containing extracts developed specific humoral and cellular immune responses directed against both the viral gD and BHV-1 particles. Most importantly, animals vaccinated with the plant-produced gDc showed good levels of protection after challenge with the virulent BHV-1. Virus excretion was drastically reduced in these animals, reaching levels comparable to animals vaccinated with a commercial BHV-1 vaccine. The positive immunological characterization obtained for the gDc, indicated that an important part of the natural conformation was retained in the plant recombinant protein.

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