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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59099. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059099. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Enhancement of heterologous gene expression in Flammulina velutipes using polycistronic vectors containing a viral 2A cleavage sequence.

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Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.


Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation for edible mushrooms has been previously established. However, the enhancement of heterologous protein production and the expression of multi-target genes remains a challenge. In this study, heterologous protein expression in the enoki mushroom Flammulina velutipes was notably enhanced using 2A peptide-mediated cleavage to co-express multiple copies of single gene. The polycistronic expression vectors were constructed by connecting multi copies of the enhanced green fluorescent protein (egfp) gene using 2A peptides derived from porcine teschovirus-1. The P2A peptides properly self-cleaved as shown by the formation of the transformants with antibiotic resistant capacity and exciting green fluorescence levels after introducing the vectors into F. velutipes mycelia. The results of western blot analysis, epifluorescent microscopy and EGFP production showed that heterologous protein expression in F. velutipes using the polycistronic strategy increased proportionally as the gene copy number increased from one to three copies. In contrast, much lower EGFP levels were detected in the F. velutipes transformants harboring four copies of the egfp gene due to mRNA instability. The polycistronic strategy using 2A peptide-mediated cleavage developed in this study can not only be used to express single gene in multiple copies, but also to express multiple genes in a single reading frame. It is a promising strategy for the application of mushroom molecular pharming.

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