Production of recombinant proteins in plant root exudates

Niolai V. Borisjuk, Ludmyla G. Borisjuk, Sithes Logendra, Frank Petersen, Yuri Gleba, Ilya Raskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


The large-scale production of recombinant proteins in plants is limited by relatively low yields and difficulties in extraction and purification. These problems were addressed by engineering tobacco plants to continuously secrete recombinant proteins from their roots into a simple hydroponic medium. Three heterologous proteins of diverse origins (green fluorescent protein of jellyfish, human placental alkaline phosphatase [SEAP], and bacterial xylanase) were produced using the root secretion method (rhizosecretion). Protein secretion was dependent on the presence of the endoplasmic reticulum signal peptide fused to the recombinant protein sequence. All three secreted proteins retained their biological activity and, as shown for SEAP, accumulated in much higher amounts in the medium than in the root tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-469
Number of pages4
JournalNature biotechnology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering


  • Agricultural biotechnology
  • Hydroponic
  • Protein secretion
  • Recombinant proteins
  • Transgenic plants

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