Plant-made pharmaceuticals: exploring studies for the production of recombinant protein in plants and assessing challenges ahead

Plant Biotechnol Rep. 2023 Feb 16:1-13. doi: 10.1007/s11816-023-00821-0. Online ahead of print.


The production of pharmaceutical compounds in plants is attracting increasing attention, as plant-based systems can be less expensive, safer, and more scalable than mammalian, yeast, bacterial, and insect cell expression systems. Here, we review the history and current status of plant-made pharmaceuticals. Producing pharmaceuticals in plants requires pairing the appropriate plant species with suitable transformation technology. Pharmaceuticals have been produced in tobacco, cereals, legumes, fruits, and vegetables via nuclear transformation, chloroplast transformation, transient expression, and transformation of suspension cell cultures. Despite this wide range of species and methods used, most such efforts have involved the nuclear transformation of tobacco. Tobacco readily generates large amounts of biomass, easily accepts foreign genes, and is amenable to stable gene expression via nuclear transformation. Although vaccines, antibodies, and therapeutic proteins have been produced in plants, such pharmaceuticals are not readily utilized by humans due to differences in glycosylation, and few such compounds have been approved due to a lack of clinical data. In addition, achieving an adequate immune response using plant-made pharmaceuticals can be difficult due to low rates of production compared to other expression systems. Various technologies have recently been developed to help overcome these limitations; however, plant systems are expected to increasingly become widely used expression systems for recombinant protein production.

PMID:36820221 | PMC:PMC9931573 | DOI:10.1007/s11816-023-00821-0


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