Rotavirus-induced diarrhea is a life-threatening disease in immunocompromised individuals and in children in developing countries. We have developed a system for prophylaxis and therapy against rotavirus disease using transgenic rice expressing the neutralizing variable domain of a rotavirus-specific llama heavy-chain antibody fragment (MucoRice-ARP1). MucoRice-ARP1 was produced at high levels in rice seeds using an overexpression system and RNAi technology to suppress the production of major rice endogenous storage proteins. Orally administered MucoRice-ARP1 markedly decreased the viral load in immunocompetent and immunodeficient mice. The antibody retained in vitro neutralizing activity after long-term storage (>1 yr) and boiling and conferred protection in mice even after heat treatment at 94°C for 30 minutes. High-yield, water-soluble, and purification-free MucoRice-ARP1 thus forms the basis for orally administered prophylaxis and therapy against rotavirus infections.
Daisuke Tokuhara, Beatriz Álvarez, Mio Mejima, Tomoko Hiroiwa, Yuko Takahashi, Shiho Kurokawa, Masaharu Kuroda, Masaaki Oyama, Hiroko Kozuka-Hata, Tomonori Nochi, Hiroshi Sagara, Farah Aladin, Harold Marcotte, Leon G.J. Frenken, Miren Iturriza-Gómara, Hiroshi Kiyono, Lennart Hammarström, Yoshikazu Yuki