Transgenic potatoes were engineered to synthesize a cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) pentamer with affinity for GM1-ganglioside. Both serum and intestinal CTB-specific antibodies were induced in orally immunized mice. Mucosal antibody titers declined gradually after the last immunization but were restored following an oral booster of transgenic potato. The cytopathic effect of cholera holotoxin (CT) on Vero cells was neutralized by serum from mice immunized with transgenic potato tissues. Following intraileal injection with CT, the plant-immunized mice showed up to a 60% reduction in diarrheal fluid accumulation in the small intestine. Protection against CT was based on inhibition of enterotoxin binding to the cell-surface receptor GM1-ganglioside. These results demonstrate the ability of transgenic food plants to generate protective immunity in mice against a bacterial enterotoxin.
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