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Review
. 2005;11(19):2459-70.
doi: 10.2174/1381612054367562.

Producing Human Therapeutic Proteins in Plastids

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Review

Producing Human Therapeutic Proteins in Plastids

J M Nugent et al. Curr Pharm Des. .

Abstract

Plastid transformation technology is set to become a major player in the production of human therapeutic proteins. Protein expression levels that can be achieved in plant plastids are hundreds of times greater than the expression levels generally obtained via nuclear transformation. Plastids can produce human proteins that are properly folded and are biologically active. Effective protein purification strategies and strategies that can achieve inducible plastid gene expression are being developed within the system. Plastid transformation technology has been extended to edible plant species, which could minimize down-stream processing costs and raises the possibility of "edible protein therapies". The system is limited by the fact that plastid-produced proteins are not glycosylated and that, at the moment, it can be difficult to predict protein stability within the plastid. The high level of protein expression that can be obtained in plastids could make it possible to produce high-value therapeutic proteins in plants on a scale that could be accommodated in contained glasshouse facilities and still be economically viable. Growing plastid-transformed plants under contained conditions, and coupled with the level of bio-safety conferred by maternal inheritance of plastid transgenes, would address many of the social and environmental concerns relating to plant based production of human therapeutic proteins.

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