Plants as bioreactors for protein production: avoiding the problem of transgene silencing

Plant Mol Biol. 2000 Jun;43(2-3):347-59. doi: 10.1023/a:1006464304199.


Plants are particularly attractive as large-scale production systems for proteins intended for therapeutical or industrial applications: they can be grown easily and inexpensively in large quantities that can be harvested and processed with the available agronomic infrastructures. The effective use of plants as bioreactors depends on the possibility of obtaining high protein accumulation levels that are stable during the life cycle of the transgenic plant and in subsequent generations. Silencing of the introduced transgenes has frequently been observed in plants, constituting a major commercial risk and hampering the general economic exploitation of plants as protein factories. Until now, the most efficient strategy to avoid transgene silencing involves careful design of the transgene construct and thorough analysis of transformants at the molecular level. Here, we focus on different aspects of the generation of transgenic plants intended for protein production and on their influence on the stability of heterologous gene expression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bioreactors
  • Gene Silencing
  • Plant Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Transgenes / genetics


  • Plant Proteins