Expression optimization of a cell membrane-penetrating human papillomavirus type 16 therapeutic vaccine candidate in <i>Nicotiana benthamiana</i>
by Romana J. R. Yanez, Renate Lamprecht, Milaid Granadillo, Brandon Weber, Isis Torrens, Edward P. Rybicki, Inga I. HitzerothHigh-risk human papillomaviruses (hr-HPVs) cause cervical cancer, the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide. A HPV-16 candidate therapeutic vaccine, LALF32-51-E7, was developed by fusing a modified E7 protein to a bacterial cell-penetrating peptide (LALF): this elicited both tumour protection and regression in pre-clinical immunization studies. In the current study, we investigated the potential for producing LALF32-51-E7 in a plant expression system by evaluating the effect of subcellular localization and usage of different expression vectors and gene silencing suppressors. The highest expression levels of LALF32-51-E7 were obtained by using a self-replicating plant expression vector and chloroplast targeting, which increased its accumulation by 27-fold compared to cytoplasmic localization. The production and extraction of LALF32-51-E7 was scaled-up and purification optimized by affinity chromatography. If further developed, this platform could potentially allow for the production of a more affordable therapeutic vaccine for HPV-16. This would be extremely relevant in the context of developing countries, where cervical cancer and other HPV-related malignancies are most prevalent, and where the population have limited or no access to preventative vaccines due to their typical high costs.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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