Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Vaccines of a "Garden Variety"

22.09.2004


Scientists from Novosibirsk are engaged in the development of an unusual vaccine which, apart from being less expensive to produce, safe and painless to administer, is also edible. The research is being accomplished in the framework of the ISTC Partner Project #2176, which is funded by the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and so far the project team has managed to introduce a HIV antigen protein gene into tomatoes.



Usually, vaccines are injected, but some - like the polio vaccine - can be ingested or eaten. Thus, a number of years ago plant genetic engineers started producing vaccine proteins in plants to test their effectiveness, which started a whole new area of plant derived edible vaccines. This approach has already been used to test vaccines for hepatitis viruses and some bacterial pathogens, but Dr. Sergey Shchelkunov at SRC of Virology and Biotechnology "Vector" wondered if an edible vaccine for HIV AIDS could be produced.

Dr. Shchelkunov’s laboratory teamed up with other Russian scientists from both the Novosibirsk Institute of Biological Chemistry and Basic Medicine, and the Siberian Institute of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry in Irkutsk, Russia. A functional vaccine from their work is still to be tested, but as a result of project 2176 the researchers were able to insert into the chromosome of tomato plants a gene from HIV. Furthermore, they were able to show that the corresponding protein product from the HIV gene was expressed in different parts of the transgenic tomato plant including ripe fruit. And, because this is a vaccine based on a single protein from HIV, there is no risk of acquiring an HIV infection from eating the tomato fruit.


The choice of tomatoes for these experiments was well planned, because previous researchers have done similar work in tobacco and potato plants. But, of course tobacco cannot be eaten and potatoes must be cooked before consumption, which in most cases destroys the medicinal properties of the vaccine. Edible vaccines have also been produced in bananas, which can be eaten fresh, but bananas can only be grown under tropical conditions. Thus tomatoes were a wise choice because they can grow in many different climate zones and conditions, and their fruit can be eaten fresh.

To introduce the HIV gene into tomatoes, the Russian scientists took advantage of a naturally occurring bacteria which has been harnessed by plant genetic engineers to introduce foreign pieces of DNA into many different plant genomes including tomatoes. All of this was done in tissue culture in the laboratory, but when whole plants were regenerated in test tubes they were moved to special greenhouses where the transgenic tomato plants grew like usual tomato plants. Scientists then applied PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology to confirm the presence of the HIV gene in the transgenic plants. Other techniques were also used to confirm that the correct HIV protein was being made in different parts of the transgenic plants including and most importantly the ripe fruit of the tomato plants.

However, this was only the beginning of the scientist’s work. For example, the researchers had to check whether the HIV gene was inherited by subsequent generations of plants. To do this they took seeds from transgenic tomatoes, let them germinate and grew a second generation of transgenic tomatoes, which also proved to contain the HIV gene and antigen protein just as the their parent plants had.

Of course, there remains many avenues of research to explore regarding edible HIV vaccines (e.g., efficacy, mechanisms of action, etc.), but in the words of the Russian scientists "The resultant transgenic tomatoes present significant interest as a basis for the creation of edible vaccines against HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B." Thus, although a useable edible vaccine against AIDS may be years away, the results from ISTC project #2176, the potential convenience, safety and low cost of edible vaccines and the hope that AIDS and other deadly diseases may someday be controlled makes the efforts worthwhile.

Alexander Ivanchenko | alfa
Further information:
http://www.istc.ru

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Trees and climate change: Faster growth, lighter wood
14.08.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests
01.08.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>