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Hen Eggs Can Carry Human Proteins
November 24, 2009 17:59

Russian scientists have recently developed brand new system for biotechnological production of pharmaceutical proteins. Researchers have created and already tested a new system for production human milk protein lactoferrin in hen eggs. The results of cooperation between Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology (Russian Academy of Medical Sciences) and Moscow Hertzen Research Institute of Oncology allow producing significant amount of cheap lactoferrin, as well as applying the same technique for production of some other valuable pharmaceutical proteins.

The protein, which name is lactoferrin, is a common component of female breast milk. This protein has a well-known mighty antioxidant effect and protects organisms of human babies, which immune system is not yet fully formed, from various diseases. Lactoferrin has extremely bright future in pharmacology and medicine, since this human protein combines high biological activity with safety and low risk of allergic response, which is often detected, when synthetic pharmaceuticals are used. The world market estimates the price for one gram of lactoferrin protein to be around $3000, while annual demand of Earth’s population in this protein reaches $6 billion. Previous technique for lactoferrin production, which was developed during the cooperation between Russian and Belarusian scientists about one year ago, involved milk of transgenic goats.



The new lactoferrin production system has one crucial difference from any other system, previously used for this purpose – it doesn’t require embedding of a foreign gene in an organism for producing this valuable protein. The lack of costly genetic engineering procedures makes lactoferrin production much faster and simpler.

New development of the Russian scientists is based upon insertion of the lactoferrin gene into fertilized hen eggs by means of CELO (chicken embryo lethal orphan) adenovirus particles. This adenovirus is widely spread among birds, but doesn’t cause any significant health malfunctions. When embryonated hen eggs get infected with this virus, large quantities of virus proteins are produced and tend to accumulate inside them. The studies showed that the amount of human lactoferrin could reach as much as 0.8 milligram per one egg.

Well, lactoferrin, isolated form hen eggs, showed the same physical and biological characteristics as natural human lactoferrin from female breast milk and had all necessary chemical modifications. New technique is so simple, safe and cheap, that it can be used for production of many other pharmaceutical proteins. However, we should pay attention to the fact that this protein should be purified extremely well, and the process should be under strict control, despite scientists know that CELO adenovirus doesn’t infect mammals.

Results and description of the investigation can be found in the famous international scientific magazine “Protein Expression and Purification”.

Source: Vechnaya Molodost

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian Scientists     

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