Recombinant Pharmaceuticals from Plants: The Plant Endomembrane System as Bioreactor

  1. Alessandro Vitale and
  2. Emanuela Pedrazzini
  1. Istituto di Biologia e Biotecnologia Agraria, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, via Bassini 15, 20133 Milan, Italy


The production of safe pharmaceuticals at affordable costs is one of the great challenges of our times. Research has proven that transgenic plants can fulfill this need. This review focuses on the peculiar features of plant cells that allow high accumulation of recombinant proteins. The endomembrane system and the secretory pathway of plant cells in themselves offer a fascinating model of protein sorting, and in practical terms, represent the potential for the facile and very low-cost purification of recombinant pharmaceutical proteins.


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