Biological and biochemical characterization of HIV-1 Gag/dgp41 virus-like particles expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana

Sarah A. Kessans, Mark D. Linhart, Nobuyuki Matoba, Tsafrir Leket-Mor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

The transmembrane HIV-1 envelope protein gp41 has been shown to play critical roles in the viral mucosal transmission and infection of CD4+ cells. Gag is a structural protein configuring the enveloped viral particles and has been suggested to constitute a target of the cellular immunity that may control viral load. We hypothesized that HIV enveloped virus-like particles (VLPs) consisting of Gag and a deconstructed form of gp41 comprising the membrane proximal external, transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains (dgp41) could be expressed in plants. To this end, plant-optimized HIV-1 genes were constructed and expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana by stable transformation, or transiently using a Tobamovirus-based expression system or a combination of both. Our results of biophysical, biochemical and electron microscopy characterization demonstrates that plant cells could support not only the formation of enveloped HIV-1 Gag VLPs, but also the accumulation of VLPs that incorporated dgp41. These findings provide further impetus for the journey towards a broadly efficacious and inexpensive subunit vaccine against HIV-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-690
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Keywords

  • Enveloped virus-like particles
  • Gag
  • Gp41
  • HIV-1
  • Transgenic plants
  • Transient expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

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