The oral administration of disease-specific autoantigens can induce oral immune tolerance and prevent or delay the onset of autoimmune disease symptoms. Here, we describe the construction of an edible vaccine consisting of a fusion protein composed of cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) and insulin that is produced in silkworm larvae at levels of up to 0.3 mg/ml of hemolymph. The silkworm bioreactor produced this fusion protein vaccine as the pentameric CTB–insulin form, which retained the GM1-ganglioside binding affinity and the native antigenicity of CTB and insulin. Non-obese diabetic mice fed hemolymph containing microgram quantities of the CTB–insulin fusion protein showed a prominent reduction in pancreatic islet inflammation and a delay in the development of symptoms of clinical diabetes. These results demonstrate that the silkworm bioreactor is a feasible production and delivery system for an oral protein vaccine designed to develop immunological tolerance against T-cell-mediated autoimmune diabetes by regulatory T-cell induction.
Journal of Biotechnology – Elsevier
Published: Sep 22, 2005
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