Co-expression of Multiple Chimeric Fluorescent Fusion Proteins in an Efficient way in Plants
Peng, X.; Zhong, G.; Wang, H.
Journal of Visualized Experiments: Jove 2018(137)
Information about the spatiotemporal subcellular localization(s) of a protein is critical to understand its physiological functions in cells. Fluorescent proteins and generation of fluorescent fusion proteins have been wildly used as an effective tool to directly visualize the protein localization and dynamics in cells. It is especially useful to compare them with well-known organelle markers after co-expression with the protein of interest. Nevertheless, classical approaches for protein co-expression in plants usually involve multiple independent expression plasmids, and therefore have drawbacks that include low co-expression efficiency, expression-level variation, and high time expenditure in genetic crossing and screening. In this study, we describe a robust and novel method for co-expression of multiple chimeric fluorescent proteins in plants. It overcomes the limitations of the conventional methods by using a single expression vector that is composed of multiple semi-independent expressing cassettes. Each protein expression cassette contains its own functional protein expression elements, and therefore it can be flexibly adjusted to meet diverse expression demand. Also, it is easy and convenient to perform the assembly and manipulation of DNA fragments in the expression plasmid by using an optimized one-step reaction without additional digestion and ligation steps. Furthermore, it is fully compatible with current fluorescent protein derived bio-imaging technologies and applications, such as FRET and BiFC. As a validation of the method, we employed this new system to co-express fluorescently fused vacuolar sorting receptor and secretory carrier membrane proteins. The results show that their perspective subcellular localizations are the same as in previous studies by both transient expression and genetic transformation in plants.