Recombinant protein paper retracted for recombining others’ work

biomed research intThe Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology — now BioMed Research International — has retracted a 2012 paper by a group from China who seem really to have admired a related 2007 article by a team from the Scripps Research Institute — and evidently other work, as well.

Here’s the abstract of the now-retracted paper, titled “Stable Plastid Transformation for High-Level Recombinant Protein Expression: Promises and Challenges” (emphasis ours):

Plants are a promising expression system for the production of recombinant proteins. However, low protein productivity remains a major obstacle that limits extensive commercialization of whole plant and plant cell bioproduction platform. Plastid genetic engineering offers several advantages, including high levels of transgenic expression, transgenic containment via maternal inheritance, and multigene expression in a single transformation event. In recent years, the development of optimized expression strategies has given a huge boost to the exploitation of plastids in molecular farming. The driving forces behind the high expression level of plastid bioreactors include codon optimization, promoters and UTRs, genotypic modifications, endogenous enhancer and regulatory elements, posttranslational modification, and proteolysis. Exciting progress of the high expression level has been made with the plastid-based production of two particularly important classes of pharmaceuticals: vaccine antigens, therapeutic proteins, and antibiotics and enzymes. Approaches to overcome and solve the associated challenges of this culture system that include low transformation frequencies, the formation of inclusion bodies, and purification of recombinant proteins will also be discussed.

Per the retraction notice:

This paper [1] has been retracted as it is found to contain a substantial amount of material from the paper “Chlamydomonas Reinhardtii Chloroplasts as Protein Factories” by Stephen P. Mayfield, Andrea L. Manuell, Stephen Chen, Joann Wu, Miller Tran, David Siefker, Machiko Muto, and Julia Marin-Navarro published in Current Opinion in Biotechnology in April 2007.

The paper has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We also found some lifted text — in bolded italics, matching the abstract above — from a 2010 article in Trends in Biotechnology titled “Solar-powered factories for new vaccines and antibiotics“:

 Chloroplasts, the green differentiation form of a group of plant cell organelles called plastids, are the sites of photosynthesis, the main energy source for life on Earth. The small circular genome of the plastid has become increasingly amenable to genetic modification, providing biotechnologists with an attractive site for the accommodation of foreign genes. In recent years, the development of optimized expression strategies has given a huge boost to the exploitation of chloroplasts in molecular farming. Exciting progress has been made with the chloroplast-based production of two particularly important classes of pharmaceuticals: vaccines and antibiotics. Extraordinarily high expression levels and the prospects of developing edible biopharmaceuticals make transgenic chloroplasts a promising platform for the production of next-generation vaccines and antimicrobials.

Oh, and this line, from a 2011 paper in Biotechnology Advances, sounds familiar, too:

Approaches to overcome and solve the associated challenges of this culture system that include non-mammalian glycosylation and genetic instability will also be discussed.

 

One thought on “Recombinant protein paper retracted for recombining others’ work”

  1. Since our actions are bases in part on DNA, I think they were just proving that recombination also works
    on our gross behavioral manifestations. A highly significant scientific finding as a unifying truth in human behavior. Nobel Prize material.

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