Crop Biotech Update

Expression of Human Interferon Alpha 2 in Aloe vera

May 25, 2012

Aloe vera, the most widely planted aloe in the world is economically important because it is used in various cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical products. However, aloe is not easily propagated and can only reproduce asexually through budding.

A study reports about the genetic transformation and regeneration of Aloe vera that produces a human protein known as interferon alpha 2 (IFNα2). This protein is vital in regulating the human cell's response to viral infection. Scientist William Lowther from Thegreencell, Inc. produced transgenic plants generated from callus cultures initiated from zygotic embryos of the Aloe vera.

Human cells treated with transgenic aloe extracts stimulated the expression of interferon gene 54, which implies that the IFN signaling pathway has been activated. The team evaluated the biological activity of the protein through an antiviral assay with human cells treated with extracts from both the rind and pulp fractions of the shoot and subsequently infected with the lytic encephalomyocarditis virus.

For more details about the findings, read the article at http://www.springerlink.com/content/u6677q5p04602224/fulltext.html