Posted on 01 February 2008 by

Potential HIV Vaccine from Tomatoes

Tomato VaccineBy Michelle Fabio

Researchers at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Irapuato, Mexico have reported that they have successfully produced transgenic tomato plants that produce an HIV protein called Tat, which is normally produced soon after infection with the HIV virus; the Tat protein allows the virus to replicate in host cells as well as infect new cells.

As the presence of anti-Tat antibodies have shown to stop the progression of AIDS, scientists are seeking to develop a vaccine based on the protein.

Dr. Miguel Angel Gomez Lim and his team in Mexico chose tomatoes over tobacco plants because of the toxic alkaloids found in tobacco.

The transgenic tomatoes, while successfully producing the Tat protein, flowered, ripened, and possessed leaves similar to those of their natural counterparts; they did not, however, produce seeds that would enable to pass on genetic information to other plants.

After testing in mice, it was shown that the Tat protein produced by the transgenic tomatoes showed a strong immune response, signifying a good vaccine.

Research, of course, continues.

Sources: HIV vaccine from tomatoes, a long awaited gift for millions
HIV-1 TAT Vaccines

6 Responses to “Potential HIV Vaccine from Tomatoes”

  1. Aileen Says:

    Wow! That’s a pretty nifty thing to do with that clever GE technology! I think I like this better than I like spider or human genes in my slicers…

  2. kate Says:

    This is an interesting article – imagine the common tomato having the possibility of being a potential vaccine. Amazing stuff!

  3. michelle Says:

    Aileen and Kate, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post; I thought it was pretty amazing too!

  4. Shibaguyz Says:

    It would be great to see some follow up articles on this. Maybe we’ll do some searching on the web…

  5. michelle Says:

    I haven’t seen any follow-ups lately, but I’ll definitely report them here if/when I come across them!

  6. Marrianette Says:

    HIV/AIDS is still a problem today despite huge medical advances, i am wondering if there would ever be a cure for this disease .

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