• Open Access

Contained and high-level production of recombinant protein in plant chloroplasts using a temporary immersion bioreactor


(fax +44 (0) 20 7594 5267;
email franck.michoux@imperial.ac.uk)


Chloroplast transformation is a promising approach for the commercial production of recombinant proteins in plants. However, gene containment still remains an issue for the large-scale cultivation of transplastomic plants in the field. Here, we have evaluated the potential of using tobacco transplastomic cell suspensions for the fully contained production of a modified form of the green fluorescent protein (GFP+) and, a vaccine antigen, fragment C of tetanus toxin (TetC). Expression of these proteins in cell suspension cultures (and calli) was much less than in leaves, reaching 0.5%–1.5% of total soluble protein (TSP), but still produced 2.4–7.2 mg/L of liquid culture. Much better expression levels were achieved with a novel protein production platform in which transgenic cell suspension cultures were placed in a temporary immersion bioreactor in the presence of Thidiazuron to initiate shoot formation. GFP+ yield reached 660 mg/L of bioreactor (33% TSP), and TetC accumulated to about 95 mg/L (8% TSP). This new production platform, combining the rapid generation of transplastomic cell suspension cultures and the use of temporary immersion bioreactors, is a promising route for the fully contained low-cost production of recombinant proteins in chloroplasts.