Characterisation of two snake toxin-targeting human monoclonal immunoglobulin G antibodies expressed in tobacco plants

Catherine M. Moore*, Anne Ljungars, Matthew J. Paul, Camilla Holst Dahl, Shirin Ahmadi, Anna Christina Adams, Lise Marie Grav, Sanne Schoffelen, Bjørn Gunnar Voldborg, Andreas Hougaard Laustsen*, Julian K-C Ma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Current snakebite antivenoms are based on polyclonal animal-derived antibodies, which can neutralize snake venom toxins in envenomed victims, but which are also associated with adverse reactions. Therefore, several efforts within antivenom research aim to explore the utility of recombinant monoclonal antibodies, such as human immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies, which are routinely used in the clinic for other indications. In this study, the feasibility of using tobacco plants as bioreactors for expressing full-length human monoclonal IgG antibodies against snake toxins was investigated. We show that the plant-produced antibodies perform similarly to their mammalian cell-expressed equivalents in terms of in vitro binding. Complete neutralization was achieved by both the plant and mammalian cell-produced anti-α-cobratoxin antibody. The feasibility of using plant-based expression systems may potentially make it easier for laboratories in resource-poor settings to work with human monoclonal IgG antibodies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107225
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Snakebite envenoming
  • Snake toxins
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Recombiant antibody expression
  • Plant-based production


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