Virus-like particles produced in plants
Hadrien Peyret, John Innes Centre
This image, taken with a transmission electron microscope (TEM), shows hepatitis B virus (HBV) core-like particles produced in the plant Nicotiana benthamiana. While these look like HBV core particles that might infect human cells, they are in fact just the protein shell of the particle, without the infectious genetic material inside. This technology enables scientists at the John Innes Centre on the Norwich Research Park to produce many virus-like particles that are guaranteed to be completely non-infectious, whilst mimicking the pathogen for the benefit of the immune system. This is a powerful technique that has huge implications for designing effective and safe vaccines.