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Breakthrough In Plant Medicine Production

Date:
June 27, 2008
Source:
Wageningen University and Research Centre
Summary:
Researchers have succeeded in further unraveling and manipulating the glycosylation of proteins in plants. The scientists expect that this knowledge will allow plants to be applied more often in the production of therapeutic proteins, an important type of medicine.

A research team of scientists from Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands has succeeded in further unravelling and manipulating the glycosylation of proteins in plants. The scientists expect that this knowledge will allow plants to be applied more often in the production of therapeutic proteins, an important type of medicine.

The discovery fits in with technology developed by the Wageningen UR research institute Plant Research International for the production of biopharmaceuticals in plants.

Proteins in plants, animals and people are equipped with various sugar chains in a process known as glycosylation. The sugar chains are of significance to the functioning of many proteins. Moreover, their identity and uniformity is crucial to the quality of therapeutic proteins.

The glycosylation of proteins in plants, people and animals basically consists of three stages. Initially sugar chains are constructed, which then attach to the protein in specific locations. Finally, the sugar chains are further modified as specific sugars are attached to the chain.

“We are the first institute in the world to identify a gene in plants that is involved in the construction of these sugar chains, the first stage in glycosylation,” says scientist Maurice Henquet. “It seems that the chains become increasingly uniform as the expression of this gene is reduced.” One type of chain, a relatively simple one, is mainly developed. The sugar chains which are attached to the proteins are therefore a better starting point for making adjustments that are designed to optimise the biological function as medicine.

“From now on we will be able to improve the manipulation of glycosylation,” Henquet continues. “And plants will become even more suitable for medicine production.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Henquet et al. Identification of the Gene Encoding the 1,3-Mannosyltransferase (ALG3) in Arabidopsis and Characterization of Downstream N-Glycan Processing. The Plant Cell Online, 2008; DOI: 10.1105/tpc.108.060731

Cite This Page:

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Breakthrough In Plant Medicine Production." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625091640.htm>.
Wageningen University and Research Centre. (2008, June 27). Breakthrough In Plant Medicine Production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625091640.htm
Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Breakthrough In Plant Medicine Production." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625091640.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

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