Biotech Updates

Rice as a Platform for the Production of Microbicide Against HIV

January 27, 2016

Protein microbicides containing neutralizing antibodies and antiviral lectins may help reduce the infection of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) if its components are manufactured in large quantities at an affordable cost.

Various scientists, led by Evangelia Vamvaka of the University of Lleida-Agrotecnio Center in Spain, expressed the antiviral lectin griffithsin (GRFT), which shows neutralizing activity against HIV, in the endosperm of transgenic rice (Oryza sativa), to determine if rice can be used to produce GRFT. The team also established a one-step purification protocol for extracting GRFT, which could potentially be developed into a larger-scale process to facilitate inexpensive downstream processing.

OSGRFT was found to have similar efficiency to GRFT produced in Escherichia coli. Further tests confirmed that both crude and pure OSGRFT showed potent activity against HIV and the crude extracts were not toxic towards human cell lines, suggesting they could be administered as a microbicide with only minimal processing.

The results indicate that rice could be developed as an inexpensive production platform for GRFT.

For more information, read the full article on Plant Biotechnology Journal.