Geminiviral vectors based on bean yellow dwarf virus for production of vaccine antigens and monoclonal antibodies in plants

Qiang Chen, Junyun He, Waranyoo Phoolcharoen, Hugh Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Expression of recombinant vaccine antigens and monoclonal antibodies using plant viral vectors has developed extensively during the past several years. The approach benefits from high yields of recombinant protein obtained within days after transient delivery of viral vectors to leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana, a tobacco relative. Modified viral genomes of both RNA and DNA viruses have been created. Geminiviruses such as bean yellow dwarf virus (BeYDV) have a small, single stranded DNA genome that replicates in the nucleus of an infected plant cell, using the cellular DNA synthesis apparatus and a virus-encoded replication initiator protein (Rep). BeYDV-derived expression vectors contain deletions of the viral genes encoding coat and movement proteins and insertion of an expression cassette for a protein of interest. Delivery of the geminiviral vector to leaf cells via Agrobacterium-mediated delivery produces very high levels of recombinant DNA that can act as a transcription template, yielding high levels of mRNA for the protein of interest. Several vaccine antigens, including Norwalk virus capsid protein and hepatitis B core antigen, were expressed using the BeYDV vector at levels up to 1 mg per g of leaf mass. BeYDV replicons can be stacked in the same vector molecule by linking them in tandem, which enables production of multi-subunit proteins like monoclonal antibody (mAb) heavy and light chains. The protective mAb 6D8 against Ebola virus was produced at 0.5 mg per g of leaf mass. Multi-replicon vectors could be conveniently used to produce protein complexes, e.g., virus-like particles that require two or more subunits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Vaccines
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Bean yellow dwarf virus
  • Geminiviral replicon
  • Monoclonal antibody
  • Plant-derived vaccine
  • Vaccine
  • Virus-like particle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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