Recombinant human protein C expression in the milk of transgenic pigs and the effect on endogenous milk immunoglobulin and transferrin levels

K. E.V. Cott, H. Lubon, F. C. Gwazdauskas, J. Knight, W. N. Drohan, W. H. Velander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Colostrum and milk are natural vehicles for acquiring passive immunity and are valuable tools for decreasing neonatant mortality from diarrheal disease. The effects of recombinant human protein C (rhPC) expression levels on endogenous immunoglobulin and transferrin content of the milk of different lineages of transgenic pigs were studied. The levels of rhPC in the milk ranged from 40 to 1200 μg/ml. Transgenic pigs with rhPC expression levels less than 500 μg/ml had no significant differences in milk protein composition with respect to nontransgenic pigs. A line of transgenic pigs having rhPC expression levels of 960-1200 μg/ml had two- to three-fold higher IgG, IgM, and secretory IgA concentrations compared to other transgenic and nontransgenic pig groups (P < 0.05), and four- to five-fold higher transferrin levels than nontransgenic pigs (P < 0.05). Changes in milk protein composition were not associated with mastitis or other pathologic disruption of epithelial cell junctions as indicated by normal casein and albumin levels in milk. Since IgG, IgM, secretory IgA, and transferrin are transported into the milk by transcytosis, higher levels of these proteins indicate that transcyctosis in the mammary epithelial cell was likely upregulated in pigs having high rhPC expression levels. This study is the first that shows a statistically significant example that mammary tissue specific expression of a heterologous protein can enhance endogenous phenotypic characteristics of milk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalTransgenic Research
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Immunoglobulin
  • Mammary gland
  • Protein C
  • Recombinant protein
  • Transgenic pig

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics

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