Title Thesis: Plant Biotechnology meets Immunology. Plant-based expression of immunologically relevant proteins.
The incidence of inflammatory disorders in industrialized countries has dramatically increased over the last decennia, which is believed to result from a change in life-style. Treatment of these inflammatory disorders relies on the intervention in immune responses thereby restoring homeostasis. Currently, many inflammatory disorders are treated with broad-acting immunosuppressive drugs or monoclonal antibodies that specifically target pro-inflammatory molecules of the immune system. An alternative therapeutic approach would be to use immunomodulatory proteins that are naturally involved in re-establishing immune homeostasis. This thesis describes the plant-based expression of a variety of immunomodulatory cytokines that may be used as biopharmaceutical proteins in the future. Furthermore, this thesis contains a pioneering chapter on the plant-based expression of immunomodulatory helminth-secreted glycoproteins. In parallel to these plant biotechnological research lines, we also developed an in vitro model system based on mouse bone marrow-derived cells to study immunological responses.