Expression of an HCV core antigen coding gene in tobacco (N. tabacum L.)

Prep Biochem Biotechnol. 2008;38(4):411-21. doi: 10.1080/10826060802325667.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the major agent causing chronic liver disease. The core gene is the most conserved sequence in the HCV genome and proved immunoreactive when expressed in bacteria and antigenic in humans. In order to test the ability of plants to express the core gene for the production of core antigen, transgenic tobacco plants carrying the core gene were generated. The core protein was stably synthesized in T(0) and T(1) generations and was found to be immunoreactive, not only with anti-core polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies, but also was able to recognize the HCV virus in infected human serum. The prospects of producing a plant based vaccine and/or a food vaccine for this important virus are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Hepacivirus / immunology
  • Hepacivirus / isolation & purification
  • Hepatitis C Antigens / genetics*
  • Hepatitis C Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics*
  • Tobacco / genetics*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Hepatitis C Antigens