Publications & Reports

Measles virus hemagglutinin protein expressed in transgenic lettuce induces neutralising antibodies in mice following mucosal vaccination.

Webster DE, Smith SD, Pickering RJ, Strugnell RA, Dry IB, Wesselingh SL
The Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health, GPO Box 2284, Melbourne, and School of Biological Sciences, Department of Immunology, Monash University, Vic., Australia. [email protected]


Plant-made oral vaccines have the potential to overcome many of the limitations of traditional vaccines. Here we report on progress towards a lettuce-made measles vaccine. Lettuce is a palatable species which exhibits rapid growth in contained hydroponic systems and produces negligible quantities of toxins. Measles virus hemagglutinin (MV-H) protein was successfully expressed in transgenic lettuce and found to be immunogenic in mice. Lettuce extracts containing MV-H protein induced MV neutralising antibodies following intraperitoneal injection and intranasal inoculation of mice. Using a sequential prime-boost strategy in which mice were vaccinated with MV-H DNA followed by an orally delivered freeze-dried MV-H lettuce formulation a 10-fold increased in MV-specific IgG titers was observed relative to mice vaccinated with control lettuce formulations (p=0.05). MV-H protein was stable in freeze-dried lettuce for up to 13 months at room temperature, and survived at least a week at temperatures as high as 50 degrees C. This research represents a significant step towards the development of measles vaccine formulation that is effective, temperature-stable, easy to administer in a resource-poor setting and amenable to large scale manufacture.


  • Journal: Vaccine
  • Published: 24/04/2006
  • Volume: 24
  • Issue: 17
  • Pagination: 3538-3544