Evaluation of Unintended Effects in the Composition of Tomatoes Expressing a Human Immunoglobulin A against Rotavirus

The production of neutralizing immunoglobulin A (IgA) in edible fruits as a means of oral passive immunization is a promising strategy for the inexpensive treatment of mucosal diseases. This approach is based on the assumption that the edible status remains unaltered in the immunoglobulin-expressing fruit, and therefore extensive purification is not required for mucosal delivery. However, unintended effects associated with IgA expression such as toxic secondary metabolites and protein allergens cannot be dismissed a priori and need to be investigated. This paper describes a collection of independent transgenic tomato lines expressing a neutralizing human IgA against rotavirus, a mucosal pathogen producing severe diarrhea episodes. This collection was used to evaluate possible unintended effects associated with recombinant IgA expression. A comparative analysis of protein and secondary metabolite profiles using wild type lines and other commercial varieties failed to find unsafe features significantly associated with IgA expression. Preliminary, the data indicate that formulations derived from IgA tomatoes are as safe for consumption as equivalent formulations derived from wild type tomatoes.