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The main nutritional limitation of maize used for feed is the content of protein that is digestible, bioavailable and contains an amino acid balance that matches the requirements of animals. In contrast, milk protein has good digestibility, bioavailability and amino acid balance. As an initial effort to create maize optimized as a source of swine nutrition, a codon-adjusted version of a gene encoding the milk protein porcine α-lactalbumin was synthesized. Maize expression vectors containing this gene under the control of the Ubi-1 promoter and nos 3′ terminator were constructed. These vectors were used to transform maize callus lines that were regenerated into fertile plants. The α-lactalbumin transgenes were transmitted through meiosis to the sexual progeny of the regenerated plants. Porcine α-lactalbumin was detected in callus and kernels from transgenic maize lines that were transformed by two constructs containing the 27-kDa maize gamma-zein signal sequence at the 5′ end of the synthetic porcine α-lactalbumin coding sequence. One of these constructs contained an ER retention signal and the other did not. Expression was not observed in kernels or callus from transgenic maize lines that were transformed by a construct that does not contain an exogenous protein-targeting signal. This suggests that the signal peptide might play an important role in porcine α-lactalbumin accumulation in transgenic maize kernels.
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Yang, Suk-Hwan; Moran, Daniel L.; Jia, Hong-Wu; Bicar, Earl H.; Lee, Michael; and Scott, Marvin Paul, "Expression of a Synthetic Porcine α-Lactalbumin Gene in the Kernels of Transgenic Maize" (2002). Agronomy Publications. 82.