Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Biology

Supervisor

Dr. Rima Menassa

Abstract

Plants are recognized as an efficient and inexpensive system to produce valuable recombinant proteins. However, the use of plants still faces two main limitations: the low accumulation levels of some recombinant proteins and the lack of efficient protein purification methods. Two fusion partners, elastin-like polypeptides (ELP) and hydrophobin I (HFBI) were found to increase the accumulation of recombinant proteins and induce the formation of protein bodies (PBs) when targeted to the ER in transient expression assays. In this study I examined the effect of these tags in stable transgenic plants of two Nicotiana tabacum cultivars when fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP) and targeted to the ER. The ELP and HFBI fusions increased the recombinant protein accumulation and induced the formation of PBs. Furthermore, my findings suggest that these tags induce the formation of PBs in a concentration-dependent manner, where a specific level of accumulation of recombinant protein has to be reached.