Generation mechanism of novel, huge protein bodies containing wild type or hypoallergenic derivatives of birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 in rice endosperm
To investigate the role of subunit assembly in the intracellular deposition of multimeric recombinant proteins, we expressed a partially humanized secretory immunoglobulin in rice endosperm cells and determined the subcellular locations of the assembled protein and its individual components. Transgenic rice plants expressing either individual subunits or all the subunits of the antibody were generated by particle bombardment, and protein localization was determined by immunoelectron microscopy. Assembly of the antibody was confirmed by immunoassay and coimmunoprecipitation. Immunolocalization experiments showed no evidence for secretion of the antibody or any of its components to the apoplast. Rather, the nonassembled light chain, heavy chain and secretory component accumulated predominantly within endoplasmic reticulum-derived protein bodies, while the assembled antibody, with antigen-binding function, accumulated specifically in protein storage vacuoles. These results show that the destination of a complex recombinant protein within the plant cell is influenced by its state of assembly.