Dettagli del progetto


Avian VIral disease prevention and control with plant-derived vaccines for the MEDiterranean area


ENEA - Italia

Responsabile ENEA:


Sito web:


Emergence and re-emergence of infectious viral poultry diseases remain an important challenge to both productivity and public health especially in the Mediterranean basin. Vaccines are regarded as the most beneficial interventions to prevent this kind of infections. Although most of the vaccines are still based on whole pathogens, many novel vaccine candidates, based only on those pathogen components (antigens) that are critical to initiate protective immune responses, are currently under development. The challenge for these new formulations is to mimic infection by stimulating a complete immune response (innate and adaptive, humoral- and cell-mediated) with minimal morbidity and low production costs. Infectious Bursal disease virus (IBDV) and Newcastle disease virus (NDV) are the cause of economically important diseases of poultry in Morocco, Egypt and also Southern Europe Mediterranean countries. The aim of the present project is to use plants as “biofactories” for the transient and stable expression of IBDV and NDV antigens both in their native form or as fusions to carriers able to potentiate their immunogenicity. The transiently and the stably expressed antigens will be used to: i) evaluate the type of immune response they activate by performing immunization trials through subcutaneous and/or mucosal (oral) routes; ii) evaluate the efficacy of the selected prototype vaccines in terms of clinical protection and virus shedding following experimental challenge; iii) set up novel diagnostic assays. The suggested plant “biofactory”-based approach has the potential to result in: i) ease and rapidity of production scale up at low costs due to the use of plants as expression systems; ii) simplification of the purification procedures; iii) improvement of the immunogenic properties of the antigens obtained by self-assembly in multimeric subviral particles or by the proposed innovative fusion strategies; iv) development of low-cost and ready to use diagnostic tools able to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA) in surveillance programs and international trade of poultry and poultry products.

Attività svolta da ENEA:

a) Optimization of the nucleotide sequences encoding the proteins to be produced in plants; b) Design and production in Nicotiana benthamiana plants of the antigens fused to the protein carriers able to potentiate their immunogenic properties; c) Verification by electron microscopy of IBDV subviral particles formation in plant tissues; d) Development of new diagnostic assays able to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA).

Programma Quadro:

Settimo Programma Quadro R&ST (2007-2013)

Programma UE:


Tipo di progetto: