Biotechnology Letters

, 33:1797 | Cite as

Expressions of thermostable bacterial cellulases in tobacco plant

  • Xi-ran Jiang
  • Xiao-ya Zhou
  • Wen-yan Jiang
  • Xiao-rong Gao
  • Wen-li LiEmail author
Original Research Paper


An economical method for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass is to use plants as bioreactors for cellulases production. Two bacterial thermostable cellulases (E2 and E3) and a E3-E2 fusion form were expressed in tobacco, driven by a double 35S promoter and 5′ TEV-UTL. The enzymes were targeted to the apoplast and cytosol via 5′ signal peptides and 3′ retention signal peptides, respectively, and all showed functional activities. All transgenic plants exhibited normal growth compared to wild type. Transgenic plants that expressed apoplast-localized E2 had the highest average activity, about 1.5 and 3 times higher than those expressed ER-localized and cytosolic E2, respectively. Effect of subcellular compartment localization was due primarily to post-transcriptional modification, since mRNA abundances were similar despite the range of cellulase activities obtained. The recombinant cellulases exhibited good thermostability below 65°C. After storing for 3 days at −20 and 28°C, the enzymes lost nearly 20 and 80% of activity, respectively. The results suggested a potential application for heterologous expression of cellulases in plant for biomass conversion.


Biomass Cellulase Sub-cellular targeting Transgenic tobacco 



Cauliflower Mosaic Virus 35s


Tobacco etch virus


Untranslated leader


Tobacco calreticulin signal peptide







The work was supported by “the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities” (DUT10JN01) and China Environmental Protection Foundation Liaoning Representative Office. Liaoning environmental scientific research “123” fund project (CEPF2008-123-2-11). We thank Alan K Chang (Dalian University of Technology) for helpful discussion and for revising the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10529_2011_642_MOESM1_ESM.doc (27 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 27 kb)
10529_2011_642_MOESM2_ESM.doc (33 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 33 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xi-ran Jiang
    • 1
  • Xiao-ya Zhou
    • 1
  • Wen-yan Jiang
    • 2
  • Xiao-rong Gao
    • 1
  • Wen-li Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Life Science and BiotechnologyDalian University of TechnologyDalianPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryThe First Affiliated Hospital, China Medical UniversityShenyangPeople’s Republic of China

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