Rapid production of SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) and spike specific monoclonal antibody CR3022 in Nicotiana benthamiana

Kaewta Rattanapisit, Balamurugan Shanmugaraj, Suwimon Manopwisedjaroen, Priyo Budi Purwono, Konlavat Siriwattananon, Narach Khorattanakulchai, Oranicha Hanittinan, Wanuttha Boonyayothin, Arunee Thitithanyanont, Duncan R. Smith, Waranyoo Phoolcharoen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for the ongoing global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which is a significant threat to global public health. The rapid spread of COVID-19 necessitates the development of cost-effective technology platforms for the production of vaccines, drugs, and protein reagents for appropriate disease diagnosis and treatment. In this study, we explored the possibility of producing the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 and an anti-SARS-CoV monoclonal antibody (mAb) CR3022 in Nicotiana benthamiana. Both RBD and mAb CR3022 were transiently produced with the highest expression level of 8 μg/g and 130 μg/g leaf fresh weight respectively at 3 days post-infiltration. The plant-produced RBD exhibited specific binding to the SARS-CoV-2 receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Furthermore, the plant-produced mAb CR3022 binds to SARS-CoV-2, but fails to neutralize the virus in vitro. This is the first report showing the production of anti-SARS-CoV-2 RBD and mAb CR3022 in plants. Overall these findings provide a proof-of-concept for using plants as an expression system for the production of SARS-CoV-2 antigens and antibodies or similar other diagnostic reagents against SARS-CoV-2 rapidly, especially during epidemic or pandemic situation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17698
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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