Transgenic plants represent a safe, effective, and inexpensive way to produce vaccines. The immunogenicity of VP2 protein of an infectious bursal disease (IBD) virus variant E isolate expressed in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana was compared with a commercial vaccine in specific-pathogen-free broiler chickens. The VP2 coding sequence was isolated and integrated into A. thaliana genome by Agrobacterium tumefaciens–mediated transformation. Soluble VP2 expressed in transgenic plants was used to immunize chickens. Chickens receiving oral immunization with plant-derived VP2 at 1 and 3 wk of age had an antibody response using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and 80% protection against challenge infection at 4 wk. Chickens primed with a commercial vaccine at 1 wk followed by an oral booster with VP2 expressed in plants at 3 wk of age showed 90% protection. Chickens immunized with a commercial vaccine at 1 and 3 wk showed 78% protection. Results supported the efficacy of plant-produced VP2 as a vaccine against IBD.
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Vol. 48 • No. 3