The uidA gene, encoding for β-glucuronidase (GUS), is the most frequently used reporter gene in plants. As a reporter enzyme, GUS can be assayed both qualitatively and quantitatively. In wheat, there are numerous reports of failure in detecting GUS enzyme activity in tissues of transgenic plants, while other reports have suggested presence of β-glucuronidase inhibitor(s) in wheat tissues. In the present study, we show that the β-glucuronidase enzyme activity is not only tissue-specific but also genotype-dependent. Our data demonstrate that the glucuronic acid could be the candidate inhibitor for β-glucuronidase enzyme activity in wheat leaves and roots. It should be noted that the assays to detect β-glucuronidase enzyme activity in wheat should be interpreted carefully. Based on the data of our present study, we recommend studying the chemical pathways, the unintended effects and the possible loss-of-function of any candidate transgene prior to transformation experiments. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
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