Rapid improvements in DNA synthesis technology are revolutionizing gene cloning and the characterization of their encoded proteins. Xenopus laevis oocytes are a commonly used heterologous system for the expression and functional characterization of membrane proteins. For many plant proteins, particularly transporters, low levels of expression can limit functional activity in these cells making it difficult to characterize the protein. Improvements in synthetic DNA technology now make it quick, easy and relatively cheap to optimize the codon usage of plant cDNAs for Xenopus. We have tested if this optimization process can improve the functional activity of a two-component plant nitrate transporter assayed in oocytes.