Curr Pharm Des 2013 ;19(31):5503-12
Wageningen University and Research Centre, Plant Research International, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Plants are gaining increasingly acceptance as a production platform for recombinant proteins. One reason for this is their ability to carry out posttranslational protein modifications in a similar if not identical way as mammalian cells. The capability of plants to carry out human-like complex glycosylation is well known. Moreover, the targeted manipulation of the plant N-glycosylation pathway allows the production of proteins carrying largely homogeneous, human-type oligosaccharides. These outstanding results have placed plants in a favourable position compared to other eukaryotic expression systems. This review provides a comprehensive summary of the N-glycosylation of plant-produced recombinant proteins, the possible impact of plant-specific N-glycans on the human immune system, and recent advances in engineering the plant N-glycosylation pathway towards the synthesis of (complex) human-type glycan structures, highlighting challenges and achievements in the application of these powerful technologies.