In planta expression of nanobody-based designer chicken antibodies targeting Campylobacter
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Campylobacteriosis is a widespread infectious disease, leading to a major health and economic burden. Chickens are considered as the most common infection source for humans. Campylobacter mainly multiplies in the mucus layer of their caeca. No effective control measures are currently available, but passive immunisation of chickens with pathogen-specific maternal IgY antibodies, present in egg yolk of immunised chickens, reduces Campylobacter colonisation. To explore this strategy further, anti-Campylobacter nanobodies, directed against the flagella and major outer membrane proteins, were fused to the constant domains of chicken IgA and IgY, combining the benefits of nanobodies and the effector functions of the Fc-domains. The designer chimeric antibodies were effectively produced in leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana and seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana. Stable expression of the chimeric antibodies in seeds resulted in production levels between 1% and 8% of the total soluble protein. These in planta produced antibodies do not only bind to their purified antigens but also to Campylobacter bacterial cells. In addition, the anti-flagellin chimeric antibodies are reducing the motility of Campylobacter bacteria. These antibody-containing Arabidopsis seeds can be tested for oral passive immunisation of chickens and, if effective, the chimeric antibodies can be produced in crop seeds.