single chain antibodies
potato cyst nematodes
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Abstract Engineering resistance against various diseases and pests is hampered by the lack of suitable genes. To overcome this problem we started a research program aimed at obtaining resistance by transfecting plants with genes encoding monoclonal antibodies against pathogen specific proteins. The idea is that monoclonal antibodies will inhibit the biological activity of molecules that are essential for the pathogenesis. Potato cyst nematodes are chosen as a model and it is thought that monoclonal antibodies are able to block the function of the saliva proteins of this parasite. These proteins are, among others, responsible for the induction of multinucleate transfer cells upon which the nematode feeds. It is well documented that the ability of antibodies to bind molecules is sufficient to inactivate the function of an antigen and in view of the potential of animals to synthesize antibodies to almost any molecular structure, this strategy should be feasible for a wide range of diseases and pests. Antibodies have several desirable features with regard to protein engineering. The antibody (IgG) is a Y-shaped molecule, in which the domains forming the tips of the arms bind to antigen and those forming the stem are responsible for triggering effector functions (Fc fragments) that eliminate the antigen from the animal. Domains carrying the antigen-binding loops (Fv and Fab fragments) can be used separately from the Fc fragments without loss of affinity. The antigen-binding domains can also be endowed with new properties by fusing them to toxins or enzymes. Antibody engineering is also facilitated by the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). A systematic comparison of the nucleotide sequence of more than 100 antibodies revealed that not only the 3′-ends, but also the 5′-ends of the antibody genes are relatively conserved. We were able to design a small set of primers with restriction sites for forced cloning, which allowed the amplification of genes encoding antibodies specific for the saliva proteins ofGlobodera rostochiensis. Complete heavy and light chain genes as well as single chain Fv fragments (scFv), in which the variable parts of the light (VL) and heavy chain (VH) are linked by a peptide, will be transferred to potato plants. A major challenge will be to establish a correct expression of the antibody genes with regard to three dimensional folding, assembly and intracellular location.
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