Plant expression of cocaine hydrolase-Fc fusion protein for treatment of cocaine abuse

Guojun Wang, Ting Zhang, Haifeng Huang, Shurong Hou, Xiabin Chen, Fang Zheng, Chang Guo Zhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: A recently reported cocaine hydrolase (CocH3) fused with fragment crystallizable (Fc) region of human immunoglobulin G1, denoted as CocH3-Fc, is known as a promising therapeutic candidate for the treatment of cocaine overdose and addiction. A challenge for practical therapeutic use of this enzyme exists in the large-scale protein production and, therefore, it is interesting to identify a low-cost and feasible, sustainable source of CocH3-Fc production. Results: CocH3-Fc was transiently expressed in plant Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. The plant-expressed protein, denoted as pCocH3-Fc, was as active as that expressed in mammalian cells both in vitro and in vivo. However, compared to the mammalian-cell expressed CocH3-Fc protein, pCocH3-Fc had a shorter biological half-life, probably due to the lack of protein sialylation in plant. Nevertheless, the in vivo half-life was significantly extended upon the PEGylation of pCocH3-Fc. The Fc fusion did not prolong the biological half-life of the plant-expressed enzyme pCocH3-Fc, but increased the yield of the enzyme expression in the plant under the same experimental conditions. Conclusions: It is feasible to express pCocH3-Fc in plants. Further studies on the pCocH3-Fc production in plants should focus on the development of vectors with additional genes/promoters for the complete protein sialylation and for a better yield.

Original languageEnglish
Article number72
JournalBMC Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 19 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the NIDA Translational Avant-Garde Award (UH2 DA041115) and R01 grants (R01 DA035552, R01 DA032910, R01 DA013930, and R01 DA025100). The funding agency had no role in the design, in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, or in the writing of the manuscript; and in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s).


  • Drug abuse
  • Fusion protein
  • Protein production
  • Therapeutic protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology


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