Production of Recombinant Human Butyrylcholinesterase in Nicotiana benthamiana
Nerve agents (NAs) inhibit the essential enzyme acetylcholinesterase. Classified as chemical weapons, NAs are considered a threat to soldiers on the frontlines of warzones. Current treatments can prevent death from NA poisoning, but are not effective in preventing convulsions, seizures, or subsequent brain damage. Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) binds to NAs, rendering the chemicals harmless to acetylcholinesterase.. Two hundred mg of BChE is the putative prophylactic dose for adult humans, but is difficult to obtain in large quantities from expired human serum. Although recombinant BChE has been expressed in several organisms, the yields are still low. Nicotiana benthamiana is an attractive plant for transient protein production due to its quick growth rate, abundance of tissue, and history of successful recombinant protein production. For this research, N. benthamiana was infiltrated with viral based vectors as well as binary vectors containing the human BChE gene. Multiple assays indicated that binary vector BChE-105-1 + P19 enabled the best expression, producing 26 mg BChE/kg tissue.