Background: The β-glucuronidase (GUS) gene reporter system is one of the most effective and employed techniques in the study of gene regulation in plant molecular biology. Improving protocols for GUS assays have rendered the original method described by Jefferson amenable to various requirements and conditions, but the serious limitation caused by inhibitors of the enzyme activity in plant tissues has thus far been underestimated. Results: We report that inhibitors of GUS activity are ubiquitous in organ tissues of Arabidopsis, tobacco and rice, and significantly bias quantitative assessment of GUS activity in plant transformation experiments. Combined with previous literature reports on non-model species, our findings suggest that inhibitors may be common components of plant cells, with variable affinity towards the E. coli enzyme. The reduced inhibitory capacity towards the plant endogenous GUS discredits the hypothesis of a regulatory role of these compounds in plant cells, and their effect on the bacterial enzyme is better interpreted as a side effect due to their interaction with GUS during the assay. This is likely to have a bearing also on histochemical analyses, leading to inaccurate evaluations of GUS expression. Conclusions: In order to achieve reliable results, inhibitor activity should be routinely tested during quantitative GUS assays. Two separate methods to correct the measured activity of the transgenic and endogenous GUS are presented.

Impact of ubiquitous inhibitors on the GUS gene reporter system: evidence from the model plants Arabidopsis, tobacco and rice and correction methods for quantitative assays of transgenic and endogenous GUS

FIOR, SIMONE;GEROLA, PAOLO
2009

Abstract

Background: The β-glucuronidase (GUS) gene reporter system is one of the most effective and employed techniques in the study of gene regulation in plant molecular biology. Improving protocols for GUS assays have rendered the original method described by Jefferson amenable to various requirements and conditions, but the serious limitation caused by inhibitors of the enzyme activity in plant tissues has thus far been underestimated. Results: We report that inhibitors of GUS activity are ubiquitous in organ tissues of Arabidopsis, tobacco and rice, and significantly bias quantitative assessment of GUS activity in plant transformation experiments. Combined with previous literature reports on non-model species, our findings suggest that inhibitors may be common components of plant cells, with variable affinity towards the E. coli enzyme. The reduced inhibitory capacity towards the plant endogenous GUS discredits the hypothesis of a regulatory role of these compounds in plant cells, and their effect on the bacterial enzyme is better interpreted as a side effect due to their interaction with GUS during the assay. This is likely to have a bearing also on histochemical analyses, leading to inaccurate evaluations of GUS expression. Conclusions: In order to achieve reliable results, inhibitor activity should be routinely tested during quantitative GUS assays. Two separate methods to correct the measured activity of the transgenic and endogenous GUS are presented.
GUS inhibitors - Enzymatic assay - Gene reporter - Tobacco - Arabidopsis - Rise
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11383/1718913
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