Engineered RNA-binding protein for transgene activation in non-green plastids

Qiguo Yu, Alice Barkan, Pal Maliga

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Non-green plastids are desirable for the expression of recombinant proteins in edible plant parts to enhance the nutritional value of tubers or fruits, or to deliver pharmaceuticals. However, plastid transgenes are expressed at extremely low levels in the amyloplasts of storage organs such as tubers 1–3 . Here, we report a regulatory system comprising a variant of the maize RNA-binding protein PPR10 and a cognate binding site upstream of a plastid transgene that encodes green fluorescent protein (GFP). The binding site is not recognized by the resident potato PPR10 protein, restricting GFP protein accumulation to low levels in leaves. When the PPR10 variant is expressed from the tuber-specific patatin promoter, GFP accumulates up to 1.3% of the total soluble protein, a 60-fold increase compared with previous studies 2 (0.02%). This regulatory system enables an increase in transgene expression in non-photosynthetic plastids without interfering with chloroplast gene expression in leaves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-490
Number of pages5
JournalNature Plants
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


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