Infectious diseases threatened humankind countless times through history, when knowledge on microorganisms was absent and medical capabilities were limited. Pandemics and outbreaks caused death of millions, brought empires to their knees and even wiped some ancient civilizations. In “modern” days, despite of improved medical application, sanitary precautions and effective medicines, infectious diseases are still cause of more than 54% of total mortality in developing countries. Millions of people are protected from the infectious diseases annually as a result of mass immunization campaigns. Nevertheless, novel diseases as COVID-19, MERS-CoV, avian influenza, Ebola, Zika and possible future infections require dynamic vaccine research and investment. Along with all the advantages of vaccines, there are several limitations regarding cost, biosafety/biosecurity, storage, distribution, degradation topics. Plant-based vaccine production for humans and animals has been under serious consideration to overcome some of these limitations. Nowadays, plant biotechnology brought new insight to vaccines research through gene transfer strategies to plants and improvements in amount, isolation and purification and addition of adjuvant for production of recombinant vaccine antigens in plants. Recombinant vaccines can undeniably offer us new standards and legal regulations to be introduced for the development, approval, authorization, licensing, distribution and marketing of such vaccines. The aim of this chapter is to exploit uses, methods and advantages of recombinant DNA technology and novel plant biotechnology applications for plant-based vaccine research in respect to existing infectious diseases.
Part of the book: Botany
The number of approaches related to recombinant protein production in plants is increasing rapidly day by day. Plant-based expression offers a safe, cost-effective, scalable, and potentially limitless way to rapidly produce recombinant proteins. Plant systems, which have significant advantages over animal and yeast recombinant protein production systems, are particularly promising for the large-scale production of antibodies and therapeutic proteins. Molecular pharming with transgenic plant systems become prominent among other production systems with its low cost, absence of human or animal pathogen contaminants, and the ability to use post-translational modifications such as glycosylation. The ability to produce recombinant pharmaceutical proteins in plant seeds, plant cells and various plant tissues such as hairy roots and leaves, through the stable transformation of the nuclear genome or transient expression, allows for the establishment of different production strategies. In particular, the rapid production of candidate proteins by transient expression, which eliminates the need for lengthy transformation and regeneration procedures, has made plants an attractive bioreactor for the production of pharmaceutical components. This chapter aimsto exhibit the current plant biotechnology applications and transgenic strategies used for the production of recombinant antibodies, antigens, therapeutic proteins and enzymes, which are used especially in the treatment of various diseases.
Part of the book: Genetically Modified Plants and Beyond
Soybean, which has many foods, feed, and industrial raw material products, has relatively limited genetic diversity due to the domestication practices which mainly focused on higher yield for many centuries. Besides, cleistogamy in soybean plant reduces genetic variations even further. Improving genetic variation in soybean is crucial for breeding applications to improve traits such as higher yield, early maturity, herbicide, and pest resistance, lodging and shattering resistance, seed quality and composition, abiotic stress tolerance and more. In the 21st century, there are numerous alternatives from conventional breeding to biotechnological approaches. Among these, mutation breeding is still a major method to produce new alleles and desired traits within the crop genomes. Physical and chemical mutagen protocols are still improving and mutation breeding proves its value to be fast, flexible, and viable in crop sciences. In the verge of revolutionary genome editing era, induced mutagenesis passed important cross-roads successfully with the help of emerging supportive NGS based-methods and non-destructive screening approaches that reduce the time-consuming labor-intensive selection practices of mutation breeding. Induced mutagenesis will retain its place in crop science in the next decades, especially for plants such as soybean for which cross breeding is limited or not applicable.
Part of the book: Soybean
All life forms, from the simplest to the most complicated, are inevitably exposed to altering environmental conditions in their natural habitats, gradually depending on their lifestyle. Unfavorable alterations drive these life forms either to avoidance or defense as a response. Most of the essential plant growth-promoting environmental factors can also turn out to be stress factors. Water as the most abundant molecule of all living cells can cause stress either in deficit as drought or in excess as waterlogging. Temperature is important for the maintenance of all biomolecules and metabolic reactions; hence, both low and high temperatures are deleterious stress factors. Even though the plants were exposed to various volcanic origin, heavy metals and pollutants and evolved molecular mechanisms during millions year of evolution, rapid urbanization, and industrial progress introduce brand new pollutants as micro- and nanoplastics as well as nanoparticles to plants like never before. This chapter defines and evaluates major environmental abiotic stress factors with an emphasis on the latest knowledge of molecular effects on plants. In addition, novel stress factors, such as nanoparticles and microplastics, are looked over as hot prospects for the future of plant abiotic stress areas.
Part of the book: Plant Abiotic Stress Responses and Tolerance Mechanisms
Global warming, which was rhetorical in the previous century, is a preeminent issue in multiple scientific areas today. Global warming has increased the frequency of extreme high temperature events all around the globe and expanded heat zones from tropic areas through both poles and even changed frigid poles to temperate zones. In the terrestrial earth, plants are the major CO2 consumers. The emergence and evolution of plants on earth decreased the global temperatures dramatically from mid-Devonian to mid-Carboniferous Era; however, the human factors as industrialization were not in equation. Today, plants are still main actors of the nature-based solutions to global warming through afforestation and reforestation solutions. However, high temperature is a major deleterious abiotic stress for plant growth and productivity. Plant heat stress adaptation has been a focus of research for both environmental and agricultural purposes. Plant heat stress adaptation requires utilization of complex physiological traits and molecular networks combined. The present chapter summarizes recent progress in transgenic approach through five main targets as heat shock proteins, osmoprotectants, antioxidants, transcription factors, and miRNAs. Additionally, miscellaneous novel transgenic attempts from photosynthetic machinery to signal transduction cascades are included to cover different physiological, transcriptional, and post-transcriptional regulation of the plant heat responses.
Part of the book: Abiotic Stress in Plants