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Joshi L, Lopez LC
Current opinion in plant biology
Bioprospecting in plants for engineered proteins.
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For more than two decades, bioengineered plants have produced protein therapeutics for human and animal use. Almost all proteins produced by other existing systems, including antibodies, vaccines and plasma proteins, have now been manufactured in plants. Considering the limitations of microbial and mammalian reactor-based protein-production technologies and the impending bottleneck in manufacturing capacity, plants are now emerging as an attractive alternative system with which to supply the growing need for protein-based therapeutics. However, full realization of the promise of plant-derived engineered proteins requires that we confront the dual challenges of bioequivalence and product consistency, challenges that are largely related to post-translational protein modifications (PTMs) that are crucial to the structure and function of most eukaryotic proteins. Among the protein PTMs, the foremost challenge for bioactivity and acceptance by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and regulatory agencies is glycosylation. Advances made in recent years that 'humanize' plant glycosylation pathways combined with the discovery of terminal sialic acids (SAs) in plants now make feasible the bioengineering in plants of glycoproteins that have mammalian-like glycosylation.
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