Edible plant vaccines: Applications for prophylactic and therapeutic molecular medicine

Hugh Mason, Heribert Warzecha, Tsafrir Leket-Mor, Charles J. Arntzen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


The use of edible plants for the production and delivery of vaccine proteins could provide an economical alternative to fermentation systems. Genes encoding bacterial and viral antigens are faithfully expressed in edible tissues to form immunogenic proteins. Studies in animals and humans have shown that ingestion of transgenic plants containing vaccine proteins causes production of antigen-specific antibodies in serum and mucosal secretions. In general, the technology is limited by low expression levels for nuclear-integrated transgenes, but recent progress in plant organelle transformation shows promise for enhanced expression. The stability and immunogenicity of orally delivered antigens vary greatly, which necessitates further study on protein engineering to enhance mucosal delivery. These issues are discussed with regard to the further development of plant-based vaccine technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-329
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Molecular Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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