Sustained expression of human cytomegalovirus glycoprotein B (UL55) in the seeds of homozygous rice plants

Eilleen S. Tackaberry, Fiona A. Prior, Karen Rowlandson, Monika Tocchi, Jelica Mehic, Suzanne Porter, Mike Walsh, Mark R. Schleiss, Peter R. Ganz, Ravinder K. Sardana, Illimar Altosaar, Anil K. Dudani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Production of recombinant subunit vaccines in transgenic plants may be a means of reducing vaccine costs while increasing availability and safety. A plant-derived product found safe and effective for oral administration would provide additional advantages when used as a vaccine. Outstanding issues with the technology include transgene stability through successive generations and consistent bioproduction. We previously reported expression of glycoprotein B (gB) of human cytomegalovirus in seeds of transgenic tobacco. Here the goal was to determine if gB could be similarly expressed in rice, and if so, to examine expression over several plant generations. Results show that immunoreactive gB was successfully expressed in transgenic rice seeds, with sustained expression over three generations. The gB contained several neutralizing epitopes and was stable over 27 months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements Research was supported in part by Health Canada’s Genomics R&D Program, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Authors thank Drs. X. Cheng and Z. Alli (University of Ottawa) for assistance with rice transformation; Mr. B. Pearce and the Animal Resources Division (Food Directorate, Health Canada) for facilities support; Margaret Bell and the following students for technical assistance: Ameen Owasi (University of Waterloo), Diana George (University of Ottawa), Akhil Chandan (Bell High School, Ottawa), Daniel Mendonc¸a (St. Paul’s High School, Ottawa).


  • CMV gB
  • Molecular biopharming
  • Subunit vaccine
  • Transgenic rice seeds


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