Transient Expression Technologies as an Alternative to Genetically Modified Plants

Giritch, A. and Gleba, Y.

Nomad Bioscience GmbH, Weinbergweg 22, Halle (Saale), Germany
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Plant-based transient expression systems provide rapid and versatile platform which allows the expression of genes of interest without transgenic modification of plant genome. We developed the transient expression technology comprising the spraying of plants with suspension of agrobacterial cells harbouring viral replicon-based or transcriptional plasmid vectors. The technology has been proven for the various plant species including important industrial crops. It was successfully used for the production of recombinant proteins for pharmaceutical industry, technical enzymes, animal health products, protein purification matrices etc. Further important application of our technology is a modification of agronomic traits using the transient expression of genes of interest. Spraying plants with agrobacteria delivering genes that encode plant defense proteins, transcriptional factors, plant hormone biosynthesis enzymes or RNAi inducers, one can achieve the desirable modification of crop traits. If compared to GM plants, our approach provides the significant improvement in speed and flexibility. Agrobacterium engineering for improved biosafety (auxotrophy, inducible T-DNA transfer, controlled apoptosis) will minimize the potential negative environmental impact of our technology.