Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Shengwu Ma


Human serum transferrin (hsTf) is well characterized for its ability to transport fused therapeutics throughout the body upon oral administration. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is one such therapeutic, effective against Type II diabetes that could benefit from such a fusion strategy. However, therapeutic use of hsTf and GLP-1 is limited by their generation using current recombinant protein production platforms. This project assesses the viability of accumulating hsTf and GLP-1 independently in transgenic plants as a novel source for the generation o f both recombinant proteins. Here, nuclear-transformed tobacco plants stably accumulating either hsTf or a synthetic GLP-1 decamer have been developed. Plant-derived hsTf was shown to reversibly bind iron in vitro and the biological activity of GLP-1 was confirmed by its ability to stimulate insulin secretion from a pancreatic cell-line in vitro. Overall, results warrant future hsTf-GLP-1 genetic fusions in transgenic plants intended for enhanced bioavailability of GLP-1 upon oral administration



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