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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Protein trans-splicing in transgenic plant chloroplast: reconstruction of herbicide resistance from split genes.

Inteins are intervening protein sequences that undergo self-excision from a precursor protein with concomitant joining of the flanking sequences. Here, we demonstrate intein trans-splicing in Nicotiana tabacum chloroplasts by using the naturally split Ssp DnaE intein. Trans-splicing occurred whether both intein fragments were encoded in the chloroplast or were separated into the chloroplast and nuclear genomes. A biolistic approach was used to integrate two fusion genes, one encoding aminoglycoside-3-adenyltransferase (aadA) and the first 123 aa of the Ssp DnaE intein (In) and the other encoding 36 C-terminal amino acid residues of the Ssp DnaE intein (Ic) and soluble modified green fluorescent protein (smGFP) into N. tabacum plastids. Expression of these gene fragments in the chloroplast resulted in ligated aadA-smGFP due to In-Ic-mediated trans-splicing. Furthermore, an N-terminal portion of the herbicide resistance gene 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) containing a chloroplast localization signal fused to In (EPSPSn-In) was integrated into the nuclear DNA of N. tabacum by using Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. The remaining EPSPS gene fragment (EPSPSc) fused to Ic (Ic-EPSPSc) was integrated into the chloroplast genome by homologous recombination. Western blot analysis of cell extracts from these plants showed a full-length EPSPS, demonstrating that the EPSPSn-In gene product migrated to the chloroplast and underwent trans-splicing. Furthermore, these transgenic plants displayed improved resistance to the herbicide N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine (glyphosate) when compared with wild-type N. tabacum.[1]


  1. Protein trans-splicing in transgenic plant chloroplast: reconstruction of herbicide resistance from split genes. Chin, H.G., Kim, G.D., Marin, I., Mersha, F., Evans, T.C., Chen, L., Xu, M.Q., Pradhan, S. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2003) [Pubmed]
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