Leaf Expression Systems Announces Further Developments in Plant-Based Protein Reagents for Coronavirus Research

8 January 2021

NORWICH, UK – 07 January 2021: Leaf Expression Systems (Leaf), a contract development and manufacturing organisation based in Norwich, UK, has announced today that it has produced three further products to support research into the Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, 2019-nCoV) pandemic.
The products developed include:

  • Recombinant Human Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2), which acts as a receptor for human coronaviruses SARS and SARS-CoV-2, as well as human coronavirus NL63/HCoV-NL634.
  • Recombinant SARS N-protein and Recombinant MERS N-protein which both serve multiple critical functions during the viral life cycle. They bind and package the positive strand viral genome RNA into a helical ribonucleocapsid (RNP) structure and have a core role in virion assembly through their interactions with the membrane protein (M). These proteins are from coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 N-protein and can be used to assess specificity in immunological assays.

All the products have all been developed using Leaf’s transient plant-based expression system, Hypertrans® and further demonstrates the role plant-based biologics play in the development of vaccines and diagnostics. The research was partly funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 774078 as part of the Pharma-Factory research project (https://pharmafactory.org/) that is coordinated by Professor Julian Ma, St George’s Hospital Medical School, London.

Simon Saxby, CEO said: “We are delighted to be able to contribute to the ongoing global efforts to combat COVID-19 through the development of these new products, which further demonstrate our capability to develop and manufacture a wide range of biomolecules using Hypertrans®.”

The production of the products increases Leaf’s growing portfolio and are all available for purchase for research purposes via its online platform.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2)
Recombinant SARS N-protein
Recombinant MERS N-protein