Expression and purification of an anti-Foot-and-mouth disease virus single chain variable antibody fragment in tobacco plants

Jussi Joensuu, K. D. Brown, A. J. Conley, A. Clavijo, R. Menassa (Corresponding Author), J. E. Brandle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Low-cost recombinant antibodies could provide a new strategy to control Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) outbreaks by passive immunization of susceptible animals. In this study, a single chain variable antibody fragment (scFv) recognizing FMDV coat protein VP1 was expressed in transgenic tobacco plants. To enhance the accumulation of scFv protein, the codon-usage of a murine hybridoma-derived scFv gene was adjusted to mimic highly expressed tobacco genes and fused to an elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) tag. This scFv–ELP fusion accumulated up to 0.8% of total soluble leaf protein in transgenic tobacco. To recover scFv–ELP protein from the leaf extract, a simple and scalable purification strategy was established. Purified scFv–ELP fusion was cleaved to separate the scFv portion. Finally, it was shown that the purified scFv proteins retained their capacity to bind the FMDV in the absence or presence of ELP fusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-696
Number of pages12
JournalTransgenic Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • Foot-and-mouth disease, FMD
  • Elastin-like polypeptide, ELP
  • Single chain variable antibody fragment, scFv
  • Codon optimization
  • Transgenic tobacco

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