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Department of Plant Sciences

Let it glow, (let it glow, let it glow)

Expression of GFP from liverwort chloroplasts

Christian R. Boehm from the Haseloff laboratory is lead author of a new paper in Plant & Cell Physiology demonstrating expression of a fluorescent reporter from the chloroplast genome of Marchantia polymorpha for the first time. This work originated from collaboration with researchers from Kyoto University where Christian visited as a JSPS Fellow in 2014. 

While the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha has been recognized as an attractive platform to study the evolution of chloroplasts in scope of the transition from water to land, expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP) in chloroplasts of M. polymorpha has proven problematic. For a decade following initial demonstration of chloroplast transformation in the emerging basal plant model Marchantia polymorpha, investigation of its plastid biology has been complicated by the lack of a suitable fluorescent reporter gene.

The authors report the design and application of a synthetic gene mturq2cp, which is successfully expressed from the chloroplast genome of M. polymorpha. They demonstrate the utility of mturq2cp in context of early screening for transplastomic events, visualization of stromules in Marchantia, and analysis of promoter activity in vivo.

The cyan emission profile of the mturq2cp gene product complements proven green- and yellow-emitting plastid reporters, facilitating the implementation of powerful techniques such as FRET or ratiometric characterization of gene expression in plant chloroplasts in the near future.

Boehm CR, Ueda M, Nishimura Y, Shikanai T, Haseloff J. A Cyan Fluorescent Reporter Expressed From The Chloroplast Genome Of Marchantia polymorpha. Plant Cell Physiol. 2015. doi:10.1093/pcp/pcv160