Plants have been shown to be efficient systems for expressing a wide range of recombinant proteins from various origins. Here, using a plant virus-based expression vector to produce human growth hormone (hGH) in Nicotiana benthamiana plants, we demonstrate, for the first time, that the plant-produced hGH (pphGH) is biologically active in a hypophysectomized rat model. We observed an average weight gain of approximately 17 g per animal in a group of 10 animals that were injected subcutaneously with pphGH with 60 microg/dose for 10 days. With the increasing demand for hGH, accompanied with the need to make this recombinant protein available to a wider population at a more reasonable cost, plants provide a feasible alternative to current production platforms.
(c) 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol.