Evaluation and comparison of the GUS, LUC and GFP reporter system for gene expression studies in plants

N.C.A. de Ruijter, J.A. Verhees, W. van Leeuwen, A.R. van der Krol

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The detailed analysis of the expression pattern of a plant gene can give important clues about its function in plant development, cell differentiation and defence reactions. Gene expression studies have been greatly facilitated by the employment of proteins like beta-glucuronidase (GUS), green fluorescent protein (GFP), and firefly luciferase (LUC) as reporters of gene activity. The application of reporter genes in plants, specifically in the field of gene expression studies, has expanded over the years from a mere tool to quantify (trans) gene expression in tissue samples, to real-time imaging of in planta promoter dynamics. To correctly interpret the activity that is given by each reporter, it is important to have a good understanding of the intrinsic properties of the different reporter proteins. Here we discuss those properties of GUS, LUC and GFP that are of interest in gene expression studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-105
JournalPlant Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2003



  • green-fluorescent protein
  • beta-glucuronidase activity
  • transgenic arabidopsis plants
  • firefly luciferase expression
  • signal-transduction
  • escherichia-coli
  • tobacco plants
  • light-emission
  • enhancer trap
  • vital marker

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