• Open Access

Production of antibodies in plants: status after twenty years


(fax 32 10 473872; e-mail marc.boutry@uclouvain.be)


Thanks to their potential to bind virtually all types of molecules; monoclonal antibodies are in increasing demand as therapeutics and diagnostics. To overcome the overloading of current production facilities, alternative expression systems have been developed, of which plants appear the most promising. In this review, we focus on the expression of monoclonal IgG or IgM in plant species. We analyse the data for 32 different antibodies expressed in various ways, differing in DNA construction, transformation method, signal peptide source, presence or absence of an endoplasmic reticulum retention sequence, host species and the organs tested, together resulting in 98 reported combinations. A large heterogeneity is found in the quantity and quality of the antibody produced. We discuss in more detail the strategy used to express both chains, the nature of the transcription promoters, subcellular localization and unintended proteolysis, when encountered.