The mycobacteriophage large serine recombinase Bxb1 catalyzes site-specific recombination between its corresponding attP and attB recognition sites. Previously, we and others have shown that Bxb1 has catalytic activity in various eukaryotic species including Nicotiana tabacum, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, insects and mammalian cells.
In this work, the Bxb1 recombinase gene was transformed and constitutively expressed in Arabidopsis thaliana plants harboring a chromosomally integrated attP and attB-flanked target sequence. The Bxb1 recombinase successfully excised the target sequence in a conservative manner and the resulting recombination event was heritably transmitted to subsequent generations in the absence of the recombinase transgene. In addition, we also show that Bxb1 recombinase expressing plants can be manually crossed with att-flanked target transgenic plants to generate excised progeny.
The Bxb1 large serine recombinase performs site-specific recombination in Arabidopsis thaliana germinal tissue, producing stable lines free of unwanted DNA. The precise site-specific deletion produced by Bxb1 in planta demonstrates that this enzyme can be a useful tool for the genetic engineering of plants without selectable marker transgenes or other undesirable exogenous sequences.