Protein Detection in Plants Glossary

amino acid

The basic building blocks of proteins. The sequence of amino acids in a protein and protein function are determined by the genetic code.

antibody

Immune system protein made by mammals to specifically bind to foreign molecules allowing the mammal to fight off disease.

antigen

A molecule which trigger's an immune system to create an antibody to bind to it.

Bt corn

Corn that has been transformed with the Bt gene and is resistant to European corn borer.

Bt gene

A gene originating from the Bacillus thuringiensis soil bacteria that encodes a protein toxic to the European corn borer.

Bt protein

Another name for the CryIA proteins. These proteins occur naturally in Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria and are toxic to European Corn Borer.

coding region

Region of the DNA sequence between the promoter and the termination sequence. It contains the instructions about how to make a specific protein.

cytoplasm

A compartment in a plant or animal cell surrounding the nucleus in which many cell organelles and molecules are suspended.

DNA

(deoxyribonucleic acid) The molecule that encodes genetic information. DNA is a double-stranded molecule held together by weak bonds between base pairs of nucleotides. It is the fundamental substance of which genes are composed.

DNA sequence

The order of nucleotides, whether in a fragment of DNA, a gene, a chromosome, or an entire genome.

endotoxin

A protein that works internally as a toxin.

enzyme

A protein that catalyzes, or speeds up, a specific biochemical reaction without changing the nature of the reaction.

EPSPS

An enzyme that catalyzes a reaction in plant and bacteria cells that is necessary for the synthesis of some amino acids. Roundup herbicide binds to this enzyme preventing the production of amino acids and eventually starving the plant to death.

European corn borer

Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) is a major insect pest in corn that costs farmers millions of dollars annually in control expenditures and yield loss. The European corn borer (ECB) larva feed on the leaves and bore holes into the stalks where they tunnel.

gene

The fundamental unit of heredity that carries genetic information from one generation to the next. A gene is an ordered sequence of nucleotides located on a particular position on a particular chromosome that encodes a specific functional protein.

gene expression

The production of a protein encoded by a gene. Gene expression is controlled by the promoter region of the gene.

genome

All the genetic material in the haploid set of chromosomes for a particular organism.

herbicide

A pesticide used to kill plants.

herbicide resistance

The inherited ability of a plant to survive and reproduce following exposure to a dose of herbicide normally lethal to the wild type. In a plant, resistance may be naturally occurring or induced by such techniques as genetic engineering or selection of variants produced by tissue culture or mutagenesis.

lateral flow strip

A variation on the ELISA tests, using strips as opposed to microtiter wells to detect the presence of a protein produced.

promoter

A specific DNA sequence to which RNA polymerase binds and initiates transcription. This region contains information which regulates when and how often the gene is transcribed and ultimately the amount of protein it produces.

protein

A large molecule composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order. Proteins are necessary for the structure, function, and regulation of an organism's cells, tissues, and organs. Each protein has a unique function determined by its shape.

proteins

Large molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order. Proteins are necessary for the structure, function, and regulation of the organism's cells, tissues, and organs. Each protein has a unique function determined by its shape.

resistance

The ability of an organism to survive and thrive in the presence of something that would normally cause damage or death, i.e., herbicide-resistant corn, Roundup-ready corn.

resistant

The inherited ability of a plant to survive and reproduce following exposure to a dose of herbicide normally lethal to the wild type. In a plant, resistance may be naturally occurring or induced by such techniques as genetic engineering or selection of variants produced by tissue culture or mutagenesis.

ribosome

A large molecule that catalyzes the translation of mRNA codons into an amino acid sequence.

RNA polymerase

An enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of RNA by copying the nucleotide sequence of the DNA.

Roundup

A herbicide that provides non-selective control of several annual and perennial weeds. Roundup will also damage crops, such as corn and soybeans that are not Roundup-resistant.

senesces

The end of a plant's life cycle when it reaches maturity and leaves dry up.

solution

A liquid matrix where a solute has been dissolved in a solvent.

termination sequence

The sequence of DNA which signals the transcription to stop.

transgene

A gene that has been genetically altered. They are usually used to transform organisms.

transgenic

An organism that has a new genetically engineered DNA sequence found in every one of its cells. Genetically engineered organisms are transgenic. These two terms are used interchangeably.

translation

The process following transcription during which the nucleotide sequence of mRNA is read and 'translated' into a chain of amino acids (protein). The mRNA sequence is read three nucleotides (codon) at a time, and each codon codes for a specific amino acid.