Measles virus hemagglutinin protein expressed in transgenic lettuce induces neutralising antibodies in mice following mucosal vaccination

D. E. Webster, S. D. Smith, R. J. Pickering, R. A. Strugnell, I. B. Dry, S. L. Wesselingh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Plant-made oral vaccines have the potential to overcome many of the limitations of traditional vaccines. Here we report on progress towards a lettuce-made measles vaccine. Lettuce is a palatable species which exhibits rapid growth in contained hydroponic systems and produces negligible quantities of toxins. Measles virus hemagglutinin (MV-H) protein was successfully expressed in transgenic lettuce and found to be immunogenic in mice. Lettuce extracts containing MV-H protein induced MV neutralising antibodies following intraperitoneal injection and intranasal inoculation of mice. Using a sequential prime-boost strategy in which mice were vaccinated with MV-H DNA followed by an orally delivered freeze-dried MV-H lettuce formulation a 10-fold increased in MV-specific IgG titers was observed relative to mice vaccinated with control lettuce formulations (p = 0.05). MV-H protein was stable in freeze-dried lettuce for up to 13 months at room temperature, and survived at least a week at temperatures as high as 50°C. This research represents a significant step towards the development of measles vaccine formulation that is effective, temperature-stable, easy to administer in a resource-poor setting and amenable to large scale manufacture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3538-3544
Number of pages7
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 24 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Measles
  • Oral delivery
  • Plant-made vaccine
  • Saponins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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