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Plant J. 2012 Oct;72(2):345-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2012.05060.x. Epub 2012 Aug 7.

Enhancing protein stability with retained biological function in transgenic plants.

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Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology, Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.


The final expression level of a transgene-derived protein in transgenic plants depends on transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes. Here, we focus on methods to improve protein stability without comprising biological function. We found that the four isoforms of the Arabidopsis RAD23 protein family are relatively stable. The UBA2 domain derived from RAD23a can be used as a portable stabilizing signal to prolong the half-life of two unstable transcription factors (TFs), HFR1 and PIF3. The increased stability of the TF-UBA2 fusion proteins results in an enhanced phenotype in transgenic plants compared to expression of the TF alone. Similar results were obtained for the RAD23a UBA1 domain. In addition to UBA1/2 of RAD23a, the UBA domain from the Arabidopsis DDI1 protein also increased the half-life of the unstable protein JAZ10.1, which is involved in jasmonate signaling. Taken together, our results suggest that UBA fusions can be used to increase the stability of unstable proteins for basic plant biology research as well as crop improvement.

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