Localization of a bacterial protein in starch granules of transgenic maize kernels

Rachel K. Chikwamba, M. Paul Scott, Lorena B. Mejía, Hugh Mason, Kan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The B subunit of Escherichia coli heat labile enterotoxin (LT-B) is a potent oral immunogen with potential for use as a vaccine, a carrier molecule to deliver antigens to gut-associated lymphoid tissues, and possibly an adjuvant to make coadministered vaccines more effective. LT-B produced in plants was shown to be functional and immunogenic in animals and humans. In this work, we show that maize-derived LT-B is strongly associated with starch granules in endosperm. Using immunogold labeling/electron microscopy, cell fractionation, and protein analysis techniques, we observed that LT-B protein could be detected both internally and externally in starch granules. This strong association confers an effective copurification of the antigen with the starch fraction of maize kernels, thermostability desirable in maize processing, and resistance to peptic degradation in simulated gastric fluid digests, an important attribute for an orally delivered antigen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11127-11132
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
StatePublished - Sep 16 2003


  • LT-B
  • Starch localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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