Corn-based Vaccines: Current Status and Prospects

Planta. 2017 May;245(5):875-888. doi: 10.1007/s00425-017-2680-1. Epub 2017 Mar 27.


Corn is an attractive host for vaccine production and oral delivery. The present review provides the current outlook and perspectives for this field. Among seed-crops, corn represents a key source of biomass for food, fuel production, and other applications. Since the beginning of the development of plant-based vaccines, corn was explored for the production and delivery of vaccines. About a dozen of pathogens have been studied under this technology with distinct degrees of development. A vaccine prototype against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli was evaluated in a phase I clinical trial and several candidates targeting bacterial and viral diseases are under preclinical evaluation. The present review provides an updated outlook on this topic highlighting the employed expression strategies; perspectives for the field are also provided.

Keywords: Gamma zein promoter; Maize; Molecular farming; Oral immunization; Seed; Vaccine; Vacuole targeting; Zea mays.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Vaccines / genetics
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology
  • Bacterial Vaccines / metabolism*
  • Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli / immunology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / prevention & control*
  • Gene Expression
  • Plants, Genetically Modified*
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Seeds / immunology
  • Seeds / metabolism
  • Viral Vaccines / genetics
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology
  • Viral Vaccines / metabolism*
  • Zea mays / genetics
  • Zea mays / immunology
  • Zea mays / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Viral Vaccines