Expression of a Functional Recombinant Human Glycogen Debranching Enzyme (hGDE) in N. benthamiana Plants and in Hairy Root Cultures

Author(s): Meilyn Rodriguez-Hernandez, Doriana Triggiani, Fiona Ivison, Olivia C. Demurtas, Elena Illiano, Carmela Marino, Rosella Franconi*, Silvia Massa*

Journal Name: Protein & Peptide Letters

Volume 27 , Issue 2 , 2020

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Glycogen storage disease type III (GSDIII, Cori/Forbes disease) is a metabolic disorder due to the deficiency of the Glycogen Debranching Enzyme (GDE), a large monomeric protein (about 176 kDa) with two distinct enzymatic activities: 4-α-glucantransferase and amylo-α-1,6-glucosidase. Several mutations along the amylo-alpha-1,6-glucosidase,4-alphaglucanotransferase (Agl) gene are associated with loss of enzymatic activity. The unique treatment for GSDIII, at the moment, is based on diet.

The potential of plants to manufacture exogenous engineered compounds for pharmaceutical purposes, from small to complex protein molecules such as vaccines, antibodies and other therapeutic/prophylactic entities, was shown by modern biotechnology through “Plant Molecular Farming”.

Objective and Methods: In an attempt to develop novel protein-based therapeutics for GSDIII, the Agl gene, encoding for the human GDE (hGDE) was engineered for expression as a histidinetagged GDE protein both in Nicotiana benthamiana plants by a transient expression approach, and in axenic hairy root in vitro cultures (HR) from Lycopersicum esculentum and Beta vulgaris.

Results: In both plant-based expression formats, the hGDE protein accumulated in the soluble fraction of extracts. The plant-derived protein was purified by affinity chromatography in native conditions showing glycogen debranching activity.

Conclusion: These investigations will be useful for the design of a new generation of biopharmaceuticals based on recombinant GDE protein that might represent, in the future, a possible therapeutic option for GSDIII.

Keywords: Plant molecular farming, glycogen storage disease, glycogen debranching enzyme, GDE, rare disease, metabolic inherited disease.

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Article Details

Year: 2020
Published on: 06 January, 2020
Page: [145 - 157]
Pages: 13
DOI: 10.2174/0929866526666191014154047
Price: $65

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