Transgenic plants that express foreign proteins with industrial or pharmaceutical value represent an economical alternative to fermentation-based production systems. Specific vaccines have been produced in plants as a result of the transient or stable expression of foreign genes. It has recently been shown that genes encoding antigens of bacterial and viral pathogens can be expressed in plants in a form in which they retain native immunogenic properties. Transgenic potato tubers expressing a bacterial antigen stimulated humoral and mucosal immune responses when they were provided as food. These results provide 'proof of concept' for the use of plants as a vehicle to produce vaccines.
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