[Tobacco--a highly efficient producer of vaccines]

Przegl Lek. 2010;67(10):1071-6.
[Article in Polish]


Along with the depreciation of tobacco as a source of nicotine-containing commercial products, the increase of its appreciation as a potential producer of recombinant therapeutical proteins can be observed. Two species of tobacco--Nicotiana tabacum L. and N. benthamiana are easily grown by well established methods of field or green-house cultivation or cell culture, yield high biomass and soluble protein content, can be easily transformed by several methods and are not food for humans or feed for animals. Expression of foreign proteins, including vaccines, can be achieved in those plants either through stable transformation of nuclear or plastid (chloroplast) genomes or by transient transformation using infection with plant virus or bacteria--Agrobacterium tumefaciens (agroinfiltration). The most advanced mode of agrofiltration termed magnifection, which combines benefits of virus and Agrobacterium and depends on using Agrobacterium with viral pro-vectors, enables high-yield and rapid expression of therapeutical proteins, even in a few days, and can be employed on an industrial scale. Expression of many antigenic proteins, which may serve as antiviral, antibacterial, antiprotozoan and anticancer vaccines, and additionally a few autoantigens designed for the treatment of autoimunogenic diseases, like diabetes, have been achieved in tobacco. To date, a vaccine against Newcastle virus disease in poultry produced by tobacco cell culture has been approved for commercial application and several other vaccines are in advanced stage of development. The possibility of a high-level production of vaccines in tobacco against pandemic influenza or anthrax and plague due to a bioterroristic attack, as well as of individualised anticancer vaccines against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in a much shorter period of time than by traditional methods became realistic and hence caused increased interest in tobacco as a high-efficient producer of vaccines not only of specialistic biotechnology firms but also a big pharmaceutical corporation and a department of defence.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Species Specificity
  • Tobacco / classification
  • Tobacco / virology*
  • Transfection
  • Viral Vaccines / biosynthesis*


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Viral Vaccines