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Several of Plantechno's projects involve the improvement of plants for use in biotechnology and for expressing proteins of interest. These projects have broad applications and utility for both the basic science, and for commercial feasibility of biotechnology-derived plants.

Increasing the Safety and Efficacy of Plant-Expressed Pharmaceutical and Nutraceutical proteins
One of the main challenges encountered in expressing many pharmaceutical and nutraceutical proteins in plants is due to differences in post-translational processing (glycosylation) of proteins between plant and mammalian systems.

A gene-expression system that promotes human-type glycosylation and blocks some plant-type glycosylation patterns in plant-expressed human pharmaceutical and nutraceutical proteins is being developed by Plantechno.

This technology can be used to overcome a major barrier in plant-based pharmaceutical protein production systems (protein glycosylation patterns), to provide safe and effective human therapeutics. Proteins with correct human glycosylation patterns could be produced in these engineered host production plants.

Harnessing the potential of the chloroplast: preventing the spread of transgenes in the environment and improving transgene expression and function
Containment of transgenes when biotechnology-derived plants are grown in the environment is of interest. One way to achieve this goal, is a gene-expression system that prevents pollen spread of transgenes by directing transgene insertion and expression in chloroplasts.

A further benefit of chloroplast transformation is a significantly larger number of gene copies per cell (which can lead to higher protein expression) than by using nuclear transformation. Plantechno currently has projects aimed at improving the targeting and efficiency of chloroplast transformation, and to reconstruct the secretion capacity of chloroplast-expressed transgenes into the cytosol.