Immunological aspects of using plant cells as delivery vehicles for oral vaccines

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Genetically engineered plants can be used for the biomanufacture and delivery of oral vaccines. Although a myriad of antigens have been produced using this approach, improving our knowledge of their oral immunogenic properties is a priority as this aspect has not been well researched. Some studies have provided evidence of a higher immunogenic activity for antigens that were orally administered in the form of plant-based vaccines in comparison with conventional pure antigens. The characteristics of the plant-derived vaccines that may influence oral immunogenicity are identified and discussed in this review. Among the hypotheses explaining these immunogenic properties are the following: bioencapsulation favors antigen uptake and displays a resistance to degradation; plant metabolites exert adjuvant activity; plant compounds, such as polysaccharides, exert mucoadhesive properties; differential glycosylation conferred by the plant cell machinery enhances immunogenicity. Perspectives on how these hypotheses may be assessed are examined.

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