New technologies for producing inexpensive high-quality agricultural vaccines to control avian flu at its source is critical to successful intervention in the disease cycle supporting the threat of pandemic flu in both domestic poultry and humans. In order to effectively target the threat of flu to domestic poultry, innovative strategies to produce critical avian influenza research reagents and rapidly scalable vaccine components for poultry are clearly required. We focus our efforts on the bioproduction of avian interleukin-12 (IL-12) to address both of these needs.  

IL- 12 is a potent adjuvant and key modulator of cell-mediated immunity and greatly enhances the efficacy of influenza vaccines in animal studies. There are currently no sources for IL-12 from any avian species, so we are developing a plant-based bioproduction system for the mouse IL-12 glycoprotein that provides high yields of recombinant protein with equivalent bioactivity to animal-cell derived IL-12 in both in vitro assays and in vivo mouse vaccination trials.