Abstract

Virus-like particles (VLPs) are self-assembled structures derived from viral antigens that mimic the native architecture of viruses but lack the viral genome. VLPs have emerged as a premier vaccine platform due to their advantages in safety, immunogenicity, and manufacturing. The particulate nature and high-density presentation of viral structure proteins on their surface also render VLPs as attractive carriers for displaying foreign epitopes. Consequently, several VLP-based vaccines have been licensed for human use and achieved significant clinical and economical success. The major challenge, however, is to develop novel production platforms that can deliver VLPbased vaccines while significantly reducing production times and costs. Therefore, this review focuses on the essential role of plants as a novel, speedy and economical production platform for VLP-based vaccines. The advantages of plant expression systems are discussed in light of their distinctive posttranslational modifications, cost-effectiveness, production speed, and scalability. Recent achievements in the expression and assembly of VLPs and their chimeric derivatives in plant systems as well as their immunogenicity in animal models are presented. Results of human clinical trials demonstrating the safety and efficacy of plant-derived VLPs are also detailed. Moreover, the promising implications of the recent creation of "humanized" glycosylation plant lines as well as the very recent approval of the first plant-made biologics by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for plant production and commercialization of VLP-based vaccines are discussed. It is speculated that the combined potential of plant expression systems and VLP technology will lead to the emergence of successful vaccines and novel applications of VLPs in the near future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-49
Number of pages24
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Keywords

  • Chimeric VLP
  • Clinical trial
  • Downstream processing
  • Glycosylation
  • Oral delivery
  • Plant-derived VLP
  • Plant-derived vaccine
  • Purification
  • Vaccine
  • Vaccine platforms
  • Virus-like particle (VLP)
  • cGMP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology

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