Chimeric Flock House virus protein A with endoplasmic reticulum-targeting domain enhances viral replication and virus-like particle trans-encapsidation in plants

Yiyang Zhou, Christopher M. Kearney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Flock House virus (FHV) RNA can be trans-encapsidated, entirely in planta, by tobacco mosaic virus coat protein to form virus-like particles (VLPs). Vaccination with these VLPs leads to strong antigen expression in mice and immune-activation. We hypothesize that creating an additional cellular site for replication and/or trans-encapsidation might significantly improve the final output of trans-encapsidated product. FHV protein A was engineered to target the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) via a heterologous tobacco etch virus ER-targeting domain, and was expressed in cis or in trans relative to the replicating FHV RNA1. A strong increase in marker gene expression in plants was noted when ER-targeted protein A was supplied in trans. RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization revealed RNA1 replication in both the mitochondria and ER, and total RNA1 accumulation was increased. In support of our hypothesis, VLP yield was increased significantly by the addition of this single genetic component to the inoculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-160
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Endoplasmic reticulum
  • Flock House virus
  • Plant-produced vaccine
  • Trans-encapsidation
  • Viral replication
  • Virus-like particles (VLPs)
  • Yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology

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