Expression of a Recombinant Transgene




Transgenic plants have gained interest from industry as natural bioreactors for the production of pharmaceutical and industrial products. Advantageous expression systems based on promoters strategically designed to optimize transgene expression in plant cells are required to maximize the potential of transgenic plants for industrial purposes. Additionally, the use of transgenic plant technologies to protect plants is an environmentally-friendly alternative to pesticides for farming purposes.


Description of Technology


This invention provides a more specific, more controllable, and environmentally friendly system for inducing protein expression for plant protection and recombinant products. This novel transgenic expression system is a method for maintaining an untranslatable RNA in the cytoplasm of plant cells that contains the complimentary copy of a transgene. The transgenic RNA is converted into translatable RNA only by natural or intentional infection by a virus containing a sequence complimentary to a replication initiation site on the transgene.

The transgene can be encoded for a non-exported phytotoxic protein that kills only infected cells and prevents spread of the virus, or can be encoded to be induced at a specific point in the plants development that is strategically advantageous for recombinant production.


Key Benefits

  • More specific: The sequence can be tailored for a specific virus for plant protection.
  • Reduces entry of foreign proteins into food chain: There is concern about foreign proteins from genetically modified organisms entering the food chain. This technology reduces the opportunity for this to occur because only infected cells, which die upon infection, express the product of the transgene. 
  • Precise control of expression: The technology enables induction of recombinant product expression at a point in the plant growth cycle that is strategically advantageous
  • Environmentally friendly: Reduces the need to use pesticides for viral resistance in plants.




The technology is useful as a controllable expression system for plant protection against viruses, and for the production of recombinant pharmaceuticals and industrial products.


Patent Status


US 2007/0136890 A1 (filed Jul 2, 2004)




Richard Allison


Tech ID




Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University
Richard Allison