In planta production of plant-derived and non-plant-derived adjuvants

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2010 Aug;9(8):843-58. doi: 10.1586/erv.10.80.


Recombinant antigen production in plants is a safe and economically sound strategy for vaccine development, particularly for oral/mucosal vaccination, but subunit vaccines usually suffer from weak immunogenicity and require adjuvants that escort the antigens, target them to relevant sites and/or activate antigen-presenting cells for elicitation of protective immunity. Genetic fusions of antigens with bacterial adjuvants as the B subunit of the cholera toxin have been successful in inducing protective immunity of plant-made vaccines. In addition, several plant compounds, mainly plant defensive molecules as lectins and saponins, have shown strong adjuvant activities. The molecular diversity of the plant kingdom offers a vast source of non-bacterial compounds with adjuvant activity, which can be assayed in emerging plant manufacturing systems for the design of new plant vaccine formulations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / biosynthesis*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lectins / biosynthesis
  • Lectins / pharmacology
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / immunology
  • Saponins / biosynthesis
  • Saponins / pharmacology
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Lectins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Saponins