, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 317-321

Transient expression of firefly luciferase in protoplasts of the green alga Chlorella ellipsoidea

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We report here on the development of a transient expression system for Chlorella ellipsoidea using a heterologous gene, firefly luciferase. Cells of this unicellular green alga were converted to protoplasts and treated with plasmid pDO432, which bears luciferase under the control of the CaMV 35S promoter. This treatment resulted in detectable luciferase activity in cell extracts. Expression required Cellulysin treatment, active cell metabolism, and the addition of carrier DNA and polyethylene glycol. Linearization of the luciferase plasmid did not significantly alter the activity. A time course of expression showed that luciferase is made rapidly, within about 7 h after addition of DNA, but that the activity disappears over the course of a few days. These experiments represent an important first step in the development of a Chlorella transformation system.

Communicated by D. R. Wolstenholme