Facile assessment of cDNA constructs for expression of functional antibodies in plants using the potato virus X vector

A. Ziegler*, G. H. Cowan, L. Torrance, H. A. Ross, H. V. Davies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Antibodies have been expressed in plants to confer novel traits such as virus resistance or altered phenotype. However, not every antibody is suitable for plant expression, and successful intracellular expression of antibody fragments depends primarily on their amino acid sequence in a way that is as yet unpredictable. Therefore it is desirable to assess different constructs before embarking on the production of transgenic plants. We have used a transient expression system based on potato virus X to compare different cDNA constructs for expression and stability of antibody variable gene fragments in plants. Constructs contained an anti-plant enzyme (granule-bound starch synthase I) scFv sequence derived from a naive phage display library together with different combinations of sequences encoding the human IgG κ constant domain, a murine IgG secretory signal sequence, or the endoplasmic reticulum retention signal peptide KDEL. The results obtained with the potato virus X vector correlated with those from Agrobacterium-mediated stable transformation of potato. The best expression levels were obtained by incorporating sequences that target scFv to the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum and the secretory pathway. The anti-enzyme scFv retained activity during storage of potato tubers for more than five months. The results demonstrate the utility of the potato virus X vector for the analysis and comparison of many scFv with different epitope specificities or sequence modifications. Evaluation of scFv by transient expression from the PVX vector should aid progress in selection of functional scFv for applications in plant biotechnology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-335
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Breeding
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2000


  • Antibody
  • GBSS I
  • Plant expression
  • PVX vector
  • scFv


Dive into the research topics of 'Facile assessment of cDNA constructs for expression of functional antibodies in plants using the potato virus X vector'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this