Biotechnology progress

Wet-milling transgenic maize seed for fraction enrichment of recombinant subunit vaccine.

PMID 19938061


The production of recombinant proteins in plants continues to be of great interest for prospective large-scale manufacturing of industrial enzymes, nutrition products, and vaccines. This work describes fractionation by wet-milling of transgenic maize expressing the B subunit of the heat-labile enterotoxin of Escherichia coli (LT-B), a potent immunogen and candidate for oral vaccine and vaccine components. The LT-B gene was directed to express in seed by an endosperm specific promoter. Two steeping treatments, traditional steeping (TS, 0.2% SO(2) + 0.5% lactic acid) and water steeping (WS, water only), were evaluated to determine effects on recovery of functional LT-B in wet-milled fractions. The overall recovery of the LT-B protein from WS treatment was 1.5-fold greater than that from TS treatment. In both steeping types, LT-B was distributed similarly among the fractions, resulting in enrichment of functional LT-B in fine fiber, coarse fiber and pericarp fractions by concentration factors of 1.5 to 8 relative to the whole kernels on a per-mass basis. Combined with endosperm-specific expression and secretory pathway targeting, wet-milling enables enrichment of high-value recombinant proteins in low-value fractions, such as the fine fiber, and co-utilization of remaining fractions in alternative industrial applications.