Recombinant protein expression is one of the key issues in protein engineering and biotechnology. Among the different models for assessing protein production and structure-function studies, green fluorescent protein (GFP) is one of the preferred models because of its importance as a reporter in cellular and molecular studies. In this research we analyze the effect of codon deletions near the amino terminus of different GFP proteins on fluorescence. Our study includes Gly4 deletions in the enhanced GFP (EGFP), the red-shifted GFP and the red-shifted EGFP. The Gly4 deletion mutants and their corresponding wild-type counterparts were transcribed under the control of the T7 or Trc promoters and their expression patterns were analyzed. Different fluorescent outcomes were observed depending on the type of fluorescent gene versions. In silico analysis of the RNA secondary structures near the ribosome binding site revealed a direct relationship between their minimum free energy and GFP production. Integrative analysis of these results, including SDS-PAGE analysis, led us to conclude that the fluorescence improvement of cells expressing different versions of GFPs with Gly4 deleted is due to an enhancement of the accessibility of the ribosome binding site by reducing the stability of the RNA secondary structures at their mRNA leader regions.

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