Introduction of a leaky stop codon as molecular tool in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Oliver D Caspari

Abstract

Expression of proteins in the chloroplast or mitochondria of the model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii can be achieved by directly inserting transgenes into organellar genomes, or through nuclear expression and post-translational import. A number of tools have been developed in the literature for achieving high expression levels from the nuclear genome despite messy genomic integration and widespread silencing of transgenes. Here, recent advances in the field are combined and two systems of bicistronic expression, based on ribosome reinitiation or ribosomal skip induced by a viral 2A sequence, are compared side-by-side. Further, the small subunit of Rubisco (RBCS) was developed as a functional nuclear reporter for successful chloroplast import and restoration of photosynthesis: To be able to combine RBCS with a Venus fluorescent reporter without compromising photosynthetic activity, a leaky stop codon is introduced as a novel molecular tool that allows the simultaneous expression of functional and fluorescently tagged versions of the protein from a single construct.

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