Exploiting plant virus-derived components to achieve in planta expression and for templates for synthetic biology applications




This review discusses the varying roles that have been played by many plant-viral regulatory sequences and proteins in the creation of plant-based expression systems and virus particles for use in nanotechnology. Essentially, there are two ways of expressing an exogenous protein: the creation of transgenic plants possessing a stably integrated gene construction, or the transient expression of the desired gene following the infiltration of the gene construct. Both depend on disarmed strains of Agrobacterium tumefaciens to deliver the created gene construction into cell nuclei, usually through the deployment of virus-derived components. The importance of efficient mRNA translation in the latter process is highlighted. Plant viruses replicate to sustain an infection to promote their survival. The major product of this, the virus particle, is finding increasing roles in the emerging field of bionanotechnology. One of the major products of plant-viral expression is the virus-like particle (VLP). These are increasingly playing a role in vaccine development. Similarly, many VLPs are suitable for the investigation of the many facets of the emerging field of synthetic biology, which encompasses the design and construction of new biological functions and systems not found in nature. Genetic and chemical modifications to plant-generated VLPs serve as ideal starter templates for many downstream synthetic biology applications.