OsLEA4, a late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) protein gene from rice (Oryza sativa L.), contains a 312-bp open reading frame encoding a putative polypeptide of 103 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 11.19 kDa and a theoretical pI of 10.04. OsLEA4 polypeptide is rich in Ala (22%), Lys (15%), Glu (9%), His (8%), Thr (8%), and Arg (7%) and lacking in Trp, Cys, Asn, and Phe residues. OsLEA4 protein contains a Pfam:LEA_1 domain architecture at positions 1-73 with three α-helical domains and without β-sheet domain. In silico predictions showed that OsLEA4 protein was strongly hydrophilic with the grand average of hydropathy value of -0.816 and instability index of 27.31. The hydrophilic regions were found in the conserved motif of OsLEA4. OsLEA4 gene was introduced into Escherichia coli, and a fusion protein (∼29.4 kDa) was expressed after isopropylthio-β-D: -galactoside inducting by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis. OsLEA4 protein enhanced the tolerance of E. coli recombinant to high salinity, heat, freezing, and UV radiation, which suggested that OsLEA4 protein may play a protective role under stressed conditions. This is the first successful use of E. coli as a prokaryotic system for LEA production from rice.
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