Immunogenicity of nuclear-encoded LTB:ST fusion protein from Escherichia coli expressed in tobacco plants

Sergio Rosales-Mendoza, Ruth E. Soria-Guerra, Leticia Moreno-Fierros, Dania O. Govea-Alonso, Areli Herrera-Díaz, Schuyler S. Korban, Ángel G. Alpuche-Solís

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is one of the main causative agents of diarrhea in infants and for travelers. Inclusion of a heat-stable (ST) toxin into vaccine formulations is mandatory as most ETEC strains can produce both heat-labile (LT) and ST enterotoxins. In this study, a genetic fusion gene encoding for an LTB:ST protein has been constructed and transferred into tobacco via Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Transgenic tobacco plants carrying the LTB:ST gene are then subjected to GM1-ELISA revealing that the LTB:ST has assembled into pentamers and displays antigenic determinants from both LTB and ST. Protein accumulation of up to 0.05% total soluble protein is detected. Subsequently, mucosal and systemic humoral responses are elicited in mice orally dosed with transgenic tobacco leaves. This has suggested that the plant-derived LTB:ST is immunogenic via the oral route. These findings are critical for the development of a plant-based vaccine capable of eliciting broader protection against ETEC and targeting both LTB and ST. Features of this platform in comparison to transplastomic approaches are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1152
Number of pages8
JournalPlant Cell Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Broader protective vaccine
  • Chimeric protein
  • Oral immunization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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