Molecular farming of recombinant antibodies in plants
"Molecular farming" is the production of recombinant proteins in plants. It is intended to harness the power of agriculture to cultivate and harvest transgenic plants producing recombinant therapeutics. Molecular farming has the potential to provide virtually unlimited quantities of recombinant antibodies for use as diagnostic and therapeutic tools in both health care and the life sciences. Importantly, recombinant antibody expression can be used to modify the inherent properties of plants, for example by using expressed anti-pathogen antibodies to increase disease resistance. Plant transformation is technically straightforward for model plant species and some cereals and the functional expression of recombinant proteins can be rapidly analyzed using transient expression systems in intact or virally infected plants. Protein production can then be increased using plant suspension cell production in fermenters, or by the propagation of stably transformed plant lines in the field. Transge nic plants can be exploited to produce organs rich in a recombinant protein for its long-term storage. This demonstrates the promise of using transgenic plants as bioreactors for the "molecular farming" of recombinant therapeutics, blood substitutes and diagnostics- such as recombinant antibodies.