Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Plant Biotechnology meets Immunology : plant-based expression of immunologically relevant proteins
Wilbers, R.H.P. - \ 2015
Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Jaap Bakker, co-promotor(en): Arjen Schots; Geert Smant. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462574335 - 229
plantenbiotechnologie - immunologie - planten - eiwitten - farmaceutische eiwitten - interleukine 10 - ontstekingsremmers - biologische activiteit - cytokinen - genexpressie - transforming growth factor - wormen - recombinant eiwitten - glycoproteïnen - plant biotechnology - immunology - plants - proteins - pharmaceutical proteins - interleukin 10 - antiinflammatory agents - biological activity - cytokines - gene expression - helminths - recombinant proteins - glycoproteins

The incidence of inflammatory disorders in industrialized countries has dramatically increased over the last decennia, which is believed to result from a change in life-style. Treatment of these inflammatory disorders relies on the intervention in immune responses thereby restoring homeostasis. For now, many inflammatory disorders are treated with broad-acting immunosuppressive drugs or monoclonal antibodies that specifically target pro-inflammatory molecules of the immune system. An alternative therapeutic approach would be to use immunomodulatory proteins that are naturally involved in re-establishing immune homeostasis. This thesis describes the plant-based expression of a variety of immunomodulatory cytokines that may be used as biopharmaceutical proteins in the future. Furthermore, this thesis contains a pioneering chapter on the plant-based expression of immunomodulatory helminth-secreted glycoproteins.

In Chapter 2 we describe the plant-based expression of the immune-regulatory cytokine human transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1). By co-expressing human furin with latent TGF-β1 we were able to engineer the post-translational proteolytic processing of TGF-β1, which enabled the production of biologically active TGF-β1. In Chapter 3 we reveal that aggregation is a major production bottleneck for the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10). By protein engineering we were able to prevent aggregation and created a biologically active fusion protein of IL-10. In Chapter 4 we express biologically active IL-22 in plants. We reveal that, in contrast to current literature, its activity is independent of the presence of N-glycans or their composition. This chapter further reveals that plants offer a powerful tool to allow investigation into the role of N-glycans in protein folding and biological activity of glycoproteins. In Chapter 5 we further explore the potential of glyco-engineering in plants by engineering helminth-like N-glycans. We produce large quantities of two major egg antigens from Schistosoma mansoni and successfully engineer Lewis X, LDN and LDNF N-glycan structures. These plant biotechnological research lines are a showcase for the potential of engineering proteins as well as post-translational modifications in plants with special emphasis on N-glycan engineering. Altogether, the results presented in the first four chapters reveal the remarkable flexibility of plants as a production platform for recombinant proteins. It showcases the potential of engineering proteins as well as post-translational modifications in plants, but it especially highlights the engineering of tailor made N-glycans in plants. This, combined with the speed of transient expression by means of agroinfiltration, makes transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana a powerful tool to study the role of N-glycans on glycoprotein function.

In parallel to these plant biotechnological research lines, we also developed an in vitro model system based on mouse bone marrow-derived cells to study immunological responses. We used this model to obtain clues on why IL-10 therapy has not been as successful as previously anticipated. In Chapter 6 we have set-up biological activity assays based on bone marrow-derived cells and reveal that IL-10 activity is dependent on both IL-10R1 and IL-10R2, but not IL-10R2-associated signalling via Tyk2. We also show that interactions between IL-10R1 and IL-10R2 (both intracellular and extracellular) reduce cellular binding of IL-10, but are crucial to initiate IL-10 mediated signalling. Furthermore, we observed that macrophages and dendritic cells respond differently to IL-10. This was further investigated in Chapter 7 where we reveal that GM-CSF (the cytokine used to differentiate dendritic cells) is responsible for negatively regulating early IL-10-mediated responses. Strikingly, GM-CSF does not strongly affect the IL-10-induced activation of the transcription factor STAT3. Instead, GM-CSF induces strong constitutive phosphorylation of GSK-3β, a signalling component downstream of the PI3K/Akt pathway. These immunological chapters give novel insights on the mechanism of initiating IL-10-induced signalling and on the possible integration of signal transduction pathways elicited by different cytokines. Ultimately this knowledge could provide us with new therapeutic strategies to treat inflammatory disorders.

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