Protein degradation poses a significant challenge for the efficient production of recombinant proteins in plants, affecting the stability and yield of the recombinant protein. In this study the E. coli-derived enzyme glutathione reductase (GR) was transiently expressed in transgenic tobacco plants constitutively expressing the cysteine protease inhibitor OC-I and non-transgenic plants. A protein resembling the GR was detected in infiltrated leaves. Transiently expressing GR in transgenic N tabacum plants resulted in almost two fold significant increases in GR activity. Transgenic tobacco plants expressing the rice cysteine protease inhibitor OC-I had significantly lower cysteine protease activity when compared to non-transgenic tobacco plants. Lower cysteine protease activity in transgenic plants was directly related to higher GR activity and also higher GR amounts in transgenic plants. The study has demonstrated that OC-I is an effective companion protease inhibitor candidate with the potential to protect other high value proteins such as GR, from cysteine protease degradation.