Crop Biotech Update

Effect of Wounding on Production of Monoclonal Antibody in GM Tobacco

December 5, 2012

A study was conducted to investigate the production of recombinant monoclonal antibody (MAb) from tobacco plants in relation to the plant maturity, wounding, or repeated sampling and to identify possible causes of recombinant protein degradation. The study was conducted by Richard Colgan from East Malling Research and other scientists.

The team observed that the plants of different ages produced immunoglobulins (IgG) but not the IgG-HDEL, an antibody that forms in the endoplasmic reticulum. The amount of the antibody produced decreased in young transgenic plants expressing IgG but not those expressing IgG-HDEL. However, the opposite was observed in mature IgG plants. There was also significant increase in yield in mature IgG plants, which was not observed in mature IgG-HDEL plants. The absence of such effects in IgG-HDEL plants could imply that the alterations caused by wounding occurred after translation. Application of ethylene to transgenic plants led to a reduction in the amount of recombinant IgG produced, which was consistent with the finding that wounded plants could decrease IgG yields in nearby wounded plants.

For more information about the results of the study, visit