When plant virology met Agrobacterium: the rise of the deconstructed clones.

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In the early days of molecular farming, Agrobacterium-mediated stable genetic transformation and the use of plant virus-based vectors were considered separate and competing technologies with complementary strengths and weaknesses. The demonstration that 'agroinfection' was the most efficient way of delivering virus-based vectors to their target plants blurred the distinction between the two technologies and permitted the development of 'deconstructed' vectors based on a number of plant viruses. The tobamoviruses, potexviruses, tobraviruses, geminiviruses and comoviruses have all been shown to be particularly well suited to the development of such vectors in dicotyledonous plants, while the development of equivalent vectors for use in monocotyledonous plants has lagged behind. Deconstructed viral vectors have proved extremely effective at the rapid, high-level production of a number of pharmaceutical proteins, some of which are currently undergoing clinical evaluation.