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Keywords:

  • Glycosylation;
  • Molecular farming;
  • Plant-made antibodies;
  • Plantibodies;
  • Viral vectors

Abstract

Plants have long been considered advantageous platforms for large-scale production of antibodies due to their low cost, scalability, and the low chances of pathogen contamination. Much effort has therefore been devoted to efficiently producing mAbs (from nanobodies to secretory antibodies) in plant cells. Several technical difficulties have been encountered and are being overcome. Improvements in production levels have been achieved by manipulation of gene expression and, more efficiently, of cell targeting and protein folding and assembly. Differences in mAb glycosylation patterns between animal and plant cells are being successfully addressed by the elimination and introduction of the appropriate enzyme activities in plant cells. Another relevant battlefield is the dichotomy between production capacity and speed. Classically, stably transformed plant lines have been proposed for large scale mAb production, whereas the use of transient expression systems has always provided production speed at the cost of scalability. However, recent advances in transient expression techniques have brought impressive yield improvements, turning speed and scalability into highly compatible assets. In the era of personalized medicines, the combination of yield and speed, and the advances in glyco-engineering have made the plant cell a serious contender in the field of recombinant antibody production.