Expression of α-amylase genes in rice is induced not only by sugar starvation and gibberellin (GA) but also by O2 deficiency. Promoters of two rice α-amylase genes, αAmy3 and αAmy8, have been shown to direct high-level production of recombinant proteins in rice suspension cells and germinated seeds. In the present study, we modified the cis-acting DNA elements within the sugar/GA response complex (SRC/GARC) of αAmy8 promoter. We found that addition of a G box and duplicated TA box leads to high-level expression of αAmy8 SRC/GARC and significantly enhances αAmy8 promoter activity in transformed rice cells and germinated transgenic rice seeds. We also show that these modifications have drastically increased the activity of αAmy8 promoter in rice seedlings under hypoxia. Our results reveal that the G box and duplicated TA box may play important roles in stimulating promoter activity in response to hypoxia in rice. The modified αAmy8 promoter was used to produce the recombinant human epidermal growth factor (hEGF) in rice cells and hypoxic seedlings. We found that the bioactive recombinant hEGF are stably produced and yields are up to 1.8 % of total soluble protein (TSP) in transformed rice cells. The expression level of synthetic hEGF containing preferred rice codon usage comprises up to 7.8 % of TSP in hypoxic transgenic seedlings. Our studies reveal that the modified αAmy8 promoter can be applicable in establishing a novel expression system for the high-level production of foreign proteins in transgenic rice cells and seedlings under hypoxia.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 21, 2014
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