Despite potential benefits granted by genetically modified (GM) fruit trees, their release and commercialization raises concerns about their potential environmental impact, and the transfer via pollen of transgenes to cross-compatible cultivars is deemed to be the greatest source for environmental exposure. Information compiled from field trials on GM trees is essential to propose measures to minimize the transgene dispersal. We have conducted a field trial of seven consecutive years to investigate the maximum frequency of pollen-mediated crop-to-crop transgene flow in a citrus orchard, and its relation to the genetic, phenological and environmental factors involved.
Three different citrus genotypes carrying the uidA (GUS) tracer marker gene (pollen donors) and a non-GM self-incompatible contiguous citrus genotype (recipient) were used in conditions allowing natural entomophilous pollination to occur. The examination of 603 to 2990 seeds per year showed unexpectedly low frequencies (0.17–2.86%) of transgene flow. Paternity analyses of the progeny of subsets of recipient plants using 10 microsatellite (SSR) loci demonstrated a higher mating competence of trees from another non-GM pollen source population that greatly limited the mating chance of the contiguous cross-compatible and flowering-synchronized transgenic pollen source. This mating superiority could be explained by a much higher pollen competition capacity of the non-GM genotypes, as was confirmed through mixed-hand pollinations.
Pollen competition strongly contributed to transgene confinement. Based on this finding, suitable isolation measures are proposed for the first time to prevent transgene outflow between contiguous plantings of citrus types that may be extendible to other entomophilous transgenic fruit tree species.
Transgenic potato plants with the nptII gene coding for neomycin phosphotransferase (kanamycin resistance) as a selection marker were examined for the spread of recombinant DNA into the environment. We used the recombinant fusion of nptII with the tg4 terminator for a novel biomonitoring technique. This depended on natural transformation of Acinetobacter sp. strain BD413 cells having in their genomes a terminally truncated nptII gene (nptII′; kanamycin sensitivity) followed by the tg4 terminator. Integration of the recombinant fusion DNA by homologous recombination in nptII′ and tg4 restored nptII, leading to kanamycin-resistant transformants. DNA of the transgenic potato was detectable with high sensitivity, while no transformants were obtained with the DNA of other transgenic plants harboring nptII in different genetic contexts. The recombinant DNA was frequently found in rhizosphere extracts of transgenic potato plants from field plots. In a series of field plot and greenhouse experiments we identified two sources of this DNA: spread by roots during plant growth and by pollen during flowering. Both sources also contributed to the spread of the transgene into the rhizospheres of nontransgenic plants in the vicinity. The longest persistence of transforming DNA in field soil was observed with soil from a potato field in 1997 sampled in the following year in April and then stored moist at 4°C in the dark for 4 years prior to extract preparation and transformation. In this study natural transformation is used as a reliable laboratory technique to detect recombinant DNA but is not used for monitoring horizontal gene transfer in the environment.
Background and Aims
Transgenic plants represent an excellent tool for experimental plant biology and are an important component of modern agriculture. Fully understanding the stability of transgene expression is critical in this regard. Most changes in transgene expression occur soon after transformation and thus unwanted lines can be discarded easily; however, transgenes can be silenced long after their integration.
To study the long-term changes in transgene expression in potato (Solanum tuberosum), the activity of two reporter genes, encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) and neomycin phosphotransferase (NPTII), was monitored in a set of 17 transgenic lines over 5 years of vegetative propagation in vitro.
A decrease in transgene expression was observed mainly in lines with higher initial GFP expression and a greater number of T-DNA insertions. Complete silencing of the reporter genes was observed in four lines (nearly 25 %), all of which successively silenced the two reporter genes, indicating an interconnection between their silencing. The loss of GFP fluorescence always preceded the loss of kanamycin resistance. Treatment with the demethylation drug 5-azacytidine indicated that silencing of the NPTII gene, but probably not of GFP, occurred directly at the transcriptional level. Successive silencing of the two reporter genes was also reproduced in lines with reactivated expression of previously silenced transgenes.
We suggest a hypothetical mechanism involving the successive silencing of the two reporter genes that involves the switch of GFP silencing from the post-transcriptional to transcriptional level and subsequent spreading of methylation to the NPTII gene.
5-Azacytidine; de novo regeneration; green fluorescent protein (GFP); kanamycin resistance test; DNA methylation; (P)TGS; reactivation; Solanum tuberosum; transgene silencing
Agrobacterium-mediated transformation in chickpea was developed using strain LBA4404 carrying nptII, uidA and cryIAc genes and transformants selected on Murashige and Skoog’s basal medium supplemented with benzyladenine, kinetin and kanamycin. Integration of transgenes was demonstrated using polymerase chain reaction and Southern blot hybridization of T0 plants. The expression of CryIAc delta endotoxin and GUS enzyme was shown by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and histochemical assay respectively. The transgenic plants (T0) showed more tolerance to infection by Helicoverpa armigera compared to control plants. Various factors such as explant source, cultivar type, different preculture treatment period of explants, co-cultivation period, acetosyringone supplementation, Agrobacterium harboring different plasmids, vacuum infiltration and sonication treatment were tested to study the influence on transformation frequency. The results indicated that use of epicotyl as explant, cultivar ICCC37, Agrobacterium harboring plasmid pHS102 as vector, preculture of explant for 48 h, co-cultivation period of 2 days at 25°C and vacuum infiltration for 15 min produced the best transformation results. Sonication treatment of explants with Agrobacteria for 80 s was found to increase the frequency of transformation.
Agrobacterium tumefaciens; Chickpea; Cicer arietinum; cryIAc gene; Genetic transformation
Transgenic trees currently are being produced by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and biolistics. The future use of transformed trees on a commercial basis depends upon thorough evaluation of the potential environmental and public health risk of the modified plants, transgene stability over a prolonged period of time and the effect of the gene on tree and fruit characteristics. We studied the stability of expression and the effect on resistance to the fire blight disease of the lytic protein gene, attacin E, in the apple cultivar 'Galaxy' grown in the field for 12 years.
Using Southern and western blot analysis, we compared transgene copy number and observed stability of expression of this gene in the leaves and fruit in several transformed lines during a 12 year period. No silenced transgenic plant was detected. Also the expression of this gene resulted in an increase in resistance to fire blight throughout 12 years of orchard trial and did not affect fruit shape, size, acidity, firmness, weight or sugar level, tree morphology, leaf shape or flower morphology or color compared to the control.
Overall, these results suggest that transgene expression in perennial species, such as fruit trees, remains stable in time and space, over extended periods and in different organs. This report shows that it is possible to improve a desirable trait in apple, such as the resistance to a pathogen, through genetic engineering, without adverse alteration of fruit characteristics and tree shape.
Citrus has an extended juvenile phase and trees can take 2–20 years to transition to the adult reproductive phase and produce fruit. For citrus variety development this substantially prolongs the time before adult traits, such as fruit yield and quality, can be evaluated. Methods to transform tissue from mature citrus trees would shorten the evaluation period via the direct production of adult phase transgenic citrus trees.
Factors important for promoting shoot regeneration from internode explants from adult phase citrus trees were identified and included a dark incubation period and the use of the cytokinin zeatin riboside. Transgenic trees were produced from four citrus types including sweet orange, citron, grapefruit, and a trifoliate hybrid using the identified factors and factor settings.
The critical importance of a dark incubation period for shoot regeneration was established. These results confirm previous reports on the feasibility of transforming mature tissue from sweet orange and are the first to document the transformation of mature tissue from grapefruit, citron, and a trifoliate hybrid.
The routine generation of transgenic plants involves analysis of transgene integration into the host genome by means of Southern blotting. However, this technique cannot distinguish between uniformly transformed tissues and the presence of a mixture of transgenic and non-transgenic cells in the same tissue. On the other hand, the use of reporter genes often fails to accurately detect chimerical tissues because their expression can be affected by several factors, including gene silencing and plant development. So, new approaches based on the quantification of the amount of the transgene are needed urgently.
We show here that chimeras are a very frequent phenomenon observed after regenerating transgenic plants. Spatial and temporal analyses of transformed tobacco and apricot plants with a quantitative, real-time PCR amplification of the neomycin phosphotransferase (nptII) transgene as well as of an internal control (β-actin), used to normalise the amount of target DNA at each reaction, allowed detection of chimeras at unexpected rates. The amount of the nptII transgene differed greatly along with the sub-cultivation period of these plants and was dependent on the localisation of the analysed leaves; being higher in roots and basal leaves, while in the apical leaves it remained at lower levels. These data demonstrate that, unlike the use of the gus marker gene, real-time PCR is a powerful tool for detection of chimeras. Although some authors have proposed a consistent, positive Southern analysis as an alternative methodology for monitoring the dissociation of chimeras, our data show that it does not provide enough proof of uniform transformation. In this work, however, real-time PCR was applied successfully to monitor the dissociation of chimeras in tobacco plants and apricot callus.
We have developed a rapid and reliable method to detect and estimate the level of chimeras in transgenic tobacco and apricot plants. This method can be extended to monitor the dissociation of chimeras and the recovery of uniformly-transformed plants.
A reproducible and highly efficient protocol for genetic transformation mediated by Agrobacterium has been established for greengram (Vigna radiata L. Wilczek). Double cotyledonary node (DCN) explants were inoculated with Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain LBA 4404 harboring a binary vector pCAMBIA 2301 containing neomycin phosphotransferase (npt II) gene as selectable marker, β-glucuronidase (GUS) as a reporter (uidA) gene and annexin 1 bj gene. Important parameters like optical density of Agrobacterium culture, culture quantity, infection medium, infection and co-cultivation time and acetosyringone concentration were standardized to optimize the transformation frequency. Kanamycin at a concentration of 100 mg/l was used to select transformed cells. Transient and stable GUS expressions were studied in transformed explants and regenerated putative plants, respectively. Transformed shoot were produced on regeneration medium containing 100 mg/l kanamycin and 250 mg/l cefotaxime and rooted on ½ MS medium. Transient and constitutive GUS expression was observed in DCN explants and different tissues of T0 and T1 plants. Rooted T0 and T1 shoots confirming Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) positive for npt II and annexin 1bj genes were taken to maturity to collect the seeds. Integration of annexin gene into the greengram genome was confirmed by Southern blotting.
Agrobacterium mediated transformation; Annexin; Double cotyledonary node; Vigna radiata
A highly efficient microprojectile transformation system for sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) has been developed by using immature embryos (IEs) of inbred line Tx430. Co-bombardment was performed with the neomycin phosphotransferase II (nptII) gene and the green fluorescent protein (gfp) gene, both under the control of the maize ubiquitin1 (ubi1) promoter. After optimization of both tissue culture media and parameters of microprojectile transformation, 25 independent transgenic events were obtained from 121 bombarded IEs. The average transformation frequency (the total number of independent transgenic events divided by the total number of bombarded IEs) was 20.7% in three independent experiments. Transgenic events were confirmed by both PCR screening and Southern hybridization of genomic DNA from primary transgenics (T0). More than 90% of transformants were fertile and displayed normal morphology in a containment glasshouse. Co-transformation rate of the nptII and gfp genes was 72% in these experiments. The segregation of nptII and gfp in T1 progenies was observed utilizing fluorescence microscopy and geneticin selection of seedlings indicating both were inherited in the T1 generation. The transformation procedure, from initiating IEs to planting putative transgenic plantlets in the glasshouse, was completed within 11–16 weeks, and was approximately threefold more efficient than the previously reported best sorghum transformation system.
Sorghum bicolor; Microprojectile transformation; Tissue culture; Copper sulfate; Transgenic plants
In this study Agrobacterium tumefaciens transferred DNA (T-DNA) was targeted to a chromosomally introduced lox site in Arabidopsis thaliana by employing the Cre recombinase system. To this end, Arabidopsis target lines were constructed which harboured an active chimeric promoter-lox-cre gene stably integrated in the plant genome. A T-DNA vector with a promoterless lox -neomycin phosphotransferase (nptII) fusion was targeted to this genomic lox site with an efficiency of 1.2-2.3% of the number of random events. Cre-catalyzed site-specific recombination resulted in restoration of nptII expression by translational fusion of the lox-nptII sequence in the integration vector with the transcription and translation initiation sequences present at the target site, allowing selective enrichment on medium containing kanamycin. Simultaneously, the coding sequence of the Cre recombinase was disconnected from these same transcription and translation initiation signals by displacement, aimed at preventing the efficient reversible excision reaction. Of the site-specific recombinants, 89% were the result of precise integration. Furthermore, approximately 50% of these integrants were single copy transformants, based on PCR analysis. Agrobacterium T-DNA, which is transferred to plant cells as a single-stranded linear DNA structure, is in principle incompatible with Cre-mediated integration. Nevertheless, the results presented here clearly demonstrate the feasibility of the Agrobacterium -mediated transformation system, which is generally used for transformation of plants, to obtain site-specific integration.
Proliferation of axillary shoot buds and multiple shoot formation in Catharanthus roseus was obtained in 96 % explants on MS medium (3 % sucrose) containing NAA + BA. 2,4-D induced callusing in both, the nodal as well as in leaf segments. Leaf-derived callus was used for transformation with Agrobacterium tumefaciens LBA4404/pBI-S1. Bacterial cell concentration, duration of co-cultivation and acetosyringone concentration influenced transformation efficiency. Under optimal co-cultivation conditions, 98 % of the explants showed GUS expression. PCR based amplification of the transformed and subsequently selected callus tissue indicated the presence of uidA, Gly I and nptII genes.
Catharanthus roseus; Micropropagation; RAPD; Co-cultivation; GUS; GlyI; Agrobacterium tumefaciens; Transformation
The long-term impact of field-deployed genetically modified trees on soil mutualistic organisms is not well known. This study aimed at evaluating the impact of poplars transformed with a binary vector containing the selectable nptII marker and β-glucuronidase reporter genes on ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi 8 years after field deployment. We generated 2,229 fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) PCR products from 1,150 EM root tips and 1,079 fungal soil clones obtained from the organic and mineral soil horizons within the rhizosphere of three control and three transformed poplars. Fifty EM fungal operational taxonomic units were identified from the 1,706 EM fungal ITS amplicons retrieved. Rarefaction curves from both the root tips and soil clones were close to saturation, indicating that most of the EM species present were recovered. Based on qualitative and/or quantitative α- and β-diversity measurements, statistical analyses did not reveal significant differences between EM fungal communities associated with transformed poplars and the untransformed controls. However, EM communities recovered from the root tips and soil cloning analyses differed significantly from each other. We found no evidence of difference in the EM fungal community structure linked to the long-term presence of the transgenic poplars studied, and we showed that coupling root tip analysis with a soil DNA cloning strategy is a complementary approach to better document EM fungal diversity.
Transgenic papaya plants were regenerated from hypocotyls and immature zygotic embryo after cocultivation with Agrobacterium tumefaciens LBA-4404 carrying a binary plasmid vector system containing neomycin phosphotransferase (nptII) gene as the selectable marker and β-glucuronidase (GUS) as the reporter gene. The explants were co-cultivated with Agrobacterium tumefaciens on regeneration medium containing 500 mg/L carbenicillin + 200 mg/L cefotaxime for one week. The cocultivated explants were transferred into the final selection medium containing 500 mg/L carbenicillin + 200 mg/L cefotaxime + 50 mg/L kanamycin for callus induction as well as plant regeneration. The callus derived from the hypocotyls of Carica papaya cv. Shahi showed the highest positive GUS activities compared to Carica papaya cv. Ranchi. The transformed callus grew vigorously and formed embryos followed by transgenic plantlets successfully. The result of this study showed that the hypocotyls of C. papaya cv. Shahi and C. papaya cv. Ranchi are better explants for genetic transformation compared to immature embryos. The transformed C. papaya cv. Shahi also showed the maximum number of plant regeneration compared to that of C. papaya cv. Ranchi.
Foliar sprays of 4 μg/ml oxamyl on sweet orange trees in a greenhouse slightly depressed the number of Tylenchulus semipenetrans larvae obtained from roots and soil, but similar treatments were not effective in two orchards. Soil drench treatments decreased the number of citrus nematode larvae obtained from roots or soil of citrus plants grown itt a greenhouse and in orchards. Exposure to 5-10 μg/ml of oxamyl in water was lethal to only a few second-stage larvae treated 10 days, and many second-stage larvae in 2.0 μg/ml oxamyl recovered motility when transferred to fresh water. Aqueous solutions of 50 and 100 μg/ml of oxamyl were toxic to citrus nematode larvae. Additional observations indicate that oxamyl interfered with hatch of citrus nematode larvae and was nematistatic and/or protected sweet orange roots from infection. Oxamyl degraded at different rates in two soils. The number of citrus nematode larvae that infected and developed on sweet orange roots was increased by an undetermined product of the degradation of oxamyl in soil, water, and possibly within plants. This product apparently was translocated in roots.
Oxamyl; nematistatic; larval-hatch; degradation; citrus nematode
Two closely related ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase small subunit (SSU) genes, SRS1 and SRS4, are transcribed at high levels in soybean plants in response to light. Transgenic petunia plants containing 5' sequences from SRS1 or SRS4 fused to the polypeptide encoding region of a neomycin phosphotransferase (NPTII) gene exhibit selectable kanamycin resistance. Deletion of three ATG codons from the region preceding the normal NPTII translation start site has little effect on the levels of kanamycin resistance in transformed plants. Run-on transcription assays in isolated nuclei demonstrate that transcription of the SRS1/NPTII chimera and the native petunia SSU11A gene subfamily is light regulated and under phytochrome control in leaves of transgenic plants. In young expanding leaves of fully light grown plants, transcription of these genes is markedly reduced within minutes of far-red treatment, while ribosomal DNA and actin gene transcription remains unchanged. This is analogous to the transcriptional response we observed for SRS1 and SRS4 in soybean seedlings. These data suggest (1) that transcription of SSU genes in both soybean and petunia require the continued presence or synthesis of phytochrome in the Pfr form and (2) that 5' sequences are sufficient to direct the phytochrome controlled transcriptional response of the SRS1 gene. In fully expanded mature leaves we found the transcription rates of the native SSU11A gene subfamily, the chimeric SRS1/NPTII gene, the rDNA genes, and several other control genes to be reduced markedly after far-red treatment or after extended periods of darkness. The contrast between results in young and mature leaves is discussed.
Promoters with tissue-specificity are desirable to drive expression of transgenes in crops to avoid accumulation of foreign proteins in edible tissues/organs. Several photosynthetic promoters have been shown to be strong regulators of expression of transgenes in light-responsive tissues and would be good candidates for leaf and immature fruit tissue-specificity, if expression in the mature fruit were minimized.
A minimal peach chlorophyll a/b-binding protein gene (Lhcb2*Pp1) promoter (Cab19) was isolated and fused to an uidA (β-glucuronidase [GUS]) gene containing the PIV2 intron. A control vector carrying an enhanced mas35S CaMV promoter fused to uidA was also constructed. Two different orientations of the Cab19::GUS fusion relative to the left T-DNA border of the binary vector were transformed into tomato. Ten independent regenerants of each construct and an untransformed control line were assessed both qualitatively and quantitatively for GUS expression in leaves, fruit and flowers, and quantitatively in roots.
The minimal CAB19 promoter conferred GUS activity primarily in leaves and green fruit, as well as in response to light. GUS activity in the leaves of both Cab19 constructs averaged about 2/3 that observed with mas35S::GUS controls. Surprisingly, GUS activity in transgenic green fruit was considerably higher than leaves for all promoter constructs; however, in red, ripe fruit activities were much lower for the Cab19 promoter constructs than the mas35S::GUS. Although GUS activity was readily detectable in flowers and roots of mas35S::GUStransgenic plants, little activity was observed in plants carrying the Cab19 promoter constructs. In addition, the light-inducibility of the Cab19::GUS constructs indicated that all the requisite cis-elements for light responsiveness were contained on the Cab19 fragment. The minimal Cab19 promoter retains both tissue-specificity and light regulation and can be used to drive expression of foreign genes with minimal activity in mature, edible fruit.
Resistance to kanamycin and neomycin in the bacterial assemblage of a coastal plain stream was detected by growth of colonies on media containing antibiotics. Three of 184 kanamycin-resistant colonies hybridized with a probe containing the nptII gene from transposon Tn5; the nptII gene encodes the enzyme neomycin phosphotransferase and conveys resistance to kanamycin and neomycin. In one of these isolates, the homologous gene was cloned and shown to confer resistance to a kanamycin-sensitive Escherichia coli strain. Since enumeration of bacteria by acridine orange direct counts revealed that less than 0.2% of the bacteria present were cultivated, direct examination of environmental DNA was used to assess abundance of sequences that hybridize to the nptII gene. To examine the resistance potential of bacteria that were not cultured, total DNA was extracted from environmental samples and hybridized with specific probes. The relative amount of eubacterial DNA in each sample was determined by using a eubacterial specific rDNA probe. Then, the abundance of sequences that hybridize to the eubacterial neomycin phosphotransferase gene was determined by hybridization and expressed relative to the total eubacterial DNA in the assemblage. Relative gene abundance was significantly different among assemblages from different habitats (leaves, midchannel sediments, and bank sediments) but did not differ among stream sites.
To study stability and inheritance of two different transgenes in barley, we crossed a homozygous T8 plant, having uidA (or gus) driven by the barley endosperm-specific B1-hordein promoter (localized in the near centromeric region of chromosome 7H) with a second homozygous T4 plant, having sgfp(S65T) driven by the barley endosperm-specific D-hordein promoter (localized on the subtelomeric region of chromosome 2H). Both lines stably expressed the two transgenes in the generations prior to the cross. Three independently crossed F1 progeny were analyzed by PCR for both uidA and sgfp(S65T) in each plant and functional expression of GUS and GFP in F2 seeds followed a 3:1 Mendelian segregation ratio and transgenes were localized by FISH to the same location as in the parental plants. FISH was used to screen F2 plants for homozygosity of both transgenes; four homozygous plants were identified from the two crossed lines tested. FISH results showing presence of transgenes were consistent with segregation ratios of expression of both transgenes, indicating that the two transgenes were expressed without transgene silencing in homozygous progeny advanced to the F3 and F4 generations. Thus, even after crossing independently transformed, homozygous parental plants containing a single, stably expressed transgene, progeny were obtained that continued to express multiple transgenes through generation advance. Such stability of transgenes, following outcrossing, is an important attribute for trait modification and for gene flow studies.
Barley; Crossing; FISH; Hordein promoter; Transgene expression stability; Transgene inheritance
The recovery of high performing transgenic lines in clonal crops is limited by the occurrence of somaclonal variation during the tissue culture phase of transformation. This is usually circumvented by developing large populations of transgenic lines, each derived from the first shoot to regenerate from each transformation event. This study investigates a new strategy of assessing multiple shoots independently regenerated from different transformed cell colonies of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.).
A modified cry9Aa2 gene, under the transcriptional control of the CaMV 35S promoter, was transformed into four potato cultivars using Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer using a nptII gene conferring kanamycin resistance as a selectable marker gene. Following gene transfer, 291 transgenic lines were grown in greenhouse experiments to assess somaclonal variation and resistance to potato tuber moth (PTM), Phthorimaea operculella (Zeller). Independently regenerated lines were recovered from many transformed cell colonies and Southern analysis confirmed whether they were derived from the same transformed cell. Multiple lines regenerated from the same transformed cell exhibited a similar response to PTM, but frequently exhibited a markedly different spectrum of somaclonal variation.
A new strategy for the genetic improvement of clonal crops involves the regeneration and evaluation of multiple shoots from each transformation event to facilitate the recovery of phenotypically normal transgenic lines. Most importantly, regenerated lines exhibiting the phenotypic appearance most similar to the parental cultivar are not necessarily derived from the first shoot regenerated from a transformed cell colony, but can frequently be a later regeneration event.
The production of Citrus, the largest fruit crop of international economic value, has recently been imperiled due to the introduction of the bacterial disease Citrus canker. No significant improvements have been made to combat this disease by plant breeding and nuclear transgenic approaches. Chloroplast genetic engineering has a number of advantages over nuclear transformation; it not only increases transgene expression but also facilitates transgene containment, which is one of the major impediments for development of transgenic trees. We have sequenced the Citrus chloroplast genome to facilitate genetic improvement of this crop and to assess phylogenetic relationships among major lineages of angiosperms.
The complete chloroplast genome sequence of Citrus sinensis is 160,129 bp in length, and contains 133 genes (89 protein-coding, 4 rRNAs and 30 distinct tRNAs). Genome organization is very similar to the inferred ancestral angiosperm chloroplast genome. However, in Citrus the infA gene is absent. The inverted repeat region has expanded to duplicate rps19 and the first 84 amino acids of rpl22. The rpl22 gene in the IRb region has a nonsense mutation resulting in 9 stop codons. This was confirmed by PCR amplification and sequencing using primers that flank the IR/LSC boundaries. Repeat analysis identified 29 direct and inverted repeats 30 bp or longer with a sequence identity ≥ 90%. Comparison of protein-coding sequences with expressed sequence tags revealed six putative RNA edits, five of which resulted in non-synonymous modifications in petL, psbH, ycf2 and ndhA. Phylogenetic analyses using maximum parsimony (MP) and maximum likelihood (ML) methods of a dataset composed of 61 protein-coding genes for 30 taxa provide strong support for the monophyly of several major clades of angiosperms, including monocots, eudicots, rosids and asterids. The MP and ML trees are incongruent in three areas: the position of Amborella and Nymphaeales, relationship of the magnoliid genus Calycanthus, and the monophyly of the eurosid I clade. Both MP and ML trees provide strong support for the monophyly of eurosids II and for the placement of Citrus (Sapindales) sister to a clade including the Malvales/Brassicales.
This is the first complete chloroplast genome sequence for a member of the Rutaceae and Sapindales. Expansion of the inverted repeat region to include rps19 and part of rpl22 and presence of two truncated copies of rpl22 is unusual among sequenced chloroplast genomes. Availability of a complete Citrus chloroplast genome sequence provides valuable information on intergenic spacer regions and endogenous regulatory sequences for chloroplast genetic engineering. Phylogenetic analyses resolve relationships among several major clades of angiosperms and provide strong support for the monophyly of the eurosid II clade and the position of the Sapindales sister to the Brassicales/Malvales.
An in vivo test system was developed to study group II intron splicing in higher plant chloroplasts. The chimeric reporter gene uidA was constructed by translational fusion of an intron-containing segment of the plastid atpF gene with the coding region of a plastid uidA reporter gene. The chimeric uidA gene was inserted into the tobacco plastid genome by the biolistic transformation procedure using a plastid targeting vector. Correct intron excision was confirmed by Northern blot analysis, by sequencing amplified cDNAs and by accumulation of the encoded beta-glucuronidase (GUS), the expression of which was dependent on intron removal. Removal of the intron from the uidA mRNA is less efficient (< 50%) than from the atpF mRNA (> 90%). The efficiency of atpF mRNA splicing is not affected in the plasmid transformants indicating that inefficient splicing of the highly-expressed uidA mRNA is not due to depletion of factor(s) required for the atpF intron removal. A derivative of uidA, with a stop codon introduced into the loop of domain VI, was also tested. The mutations did not affect the splicing efficiency. The chimeric uidA splicing system will facilitate the study of structural and sequence requirements for group II intron splicing in plastids of higher plants.
Chloroplast genetic engineering overcomes concerns of gene containment, low levels of transgene expression, gene silencing, positional and pleiotropic effects or presence of vector sequences in transformed genomes. Several therapeutic proteins and agronomic traits have been highly expressed via the tobacco chloroplast genome but extending this concept to important crops has been a major challenge; lack of 100% homologous species-specific chloroplast transformation vectors containing suitable selectable markers, ability to regulate transgene expression in developing plastids and inadequate tissue culture systems via somatic embryogenesis are major challenges. We employed a ‘Double Gene/Single Selection (DGSS)’ plastid transformation vector that harbors two selectable marker genes (aphA-6 and nptII) to detoxify the same antibiotic by two enzymes, irrespective of the type of tissues or plastids; by combining this with an efficient regeneration system via somatic embryogenesis, cotton plastid transformation was achieved for the first time. The DGSS transformation vector is at least 8-fold (1 event/2.4 bombarded plates) more efficient than ‘Single Gene/Single Selection (SGSS)’ vector (aphA-6; 1 event per 20 bombarded plates). Chloroplast transgenic lines were fertile, flowered and set seeds similar to untransformed plants. Transgenes stably integrated into the cotton chloroplast genome were maternally inherited and were not transmitted via pollen when out-crossed with untransformed female plants. Cotton is one of the most important genetically modified crops ($ 120 billion US annual economy). Successful transformation of the chloroplast genome should address concerns about transgene escape, insects developing resistance, inadequate insect control and promote public acceptance of genetically modified cotton.
chloroplast genetic engineering; genetically modified crops; transgene containment; transgenic cotton
Enormous work has shown that polyamines are involved in a variety of physiological processes, but information is scarce on the potential of modifying disease response through genetic transformation of a polyamine biosynthetic gene.
In the present work, an apple spermidine synthase gene (MdSPDS1) was introduced into sweet orange (Citrus sinensis Osbeck 'Anliucheng') via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of embryogenic calluses. Two transgenic lines (TG4 and TG9) varied in the transgene expression and cellular endogenous polyamine contents. Pinprick inoculation demonstrated that the transgenic lines were less susceptible to Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri (Xac), the causal agent of citrus canker, than the wild type plants (WT). In addition, our data showed that upon Xac attack TG9 had significantly higher free spermine (Spm) and polyamine oxidase (PAO) activity when compared with the WT, concurrent with an apparent hypersensitive response and the accumulation of more H2O2. Pretreatment of TG9 leaves with guazatine acetate, an inhibitor of PAO, repressed PAO activity and reduced H2O2 accumulation, leading to more conspicuous disease symptoms than the controls when both were challenged with Xac. Moreover, mRNA levels of most of the defense-related genes involved in synthesis of pathogenesis-related protein and jasmonic acid were upregulated in TG9 than in the WT regardless of Xac infection.
Our results demonstrated that overexpression of the MdSPDS1 gene prominently lowered the sensitivity of the transgenic plants to canker. This may be, at least partially, correlated with the generation of more H2O2 due to increased production of polyamines and enhanced PAO-mediated catabolism, triggering hypersensitive response or activation of defense-related genes.
Citrus canker disease caused by Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xcc) is one of the most devastating diseases affecting the citrus industry worldwide. In our previous study, the canker-resistant transgenic sweet orange (Citrus sinensis Osbeck) plants were produced via constitutively overexpressing a spermidine synthase. To unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying Xcc resistance of the transgenic plants, in the present study global transcriptional profiling was compared between untransformed line (WT) and the transgenic line (TG9) by hybridizing with Affymetrix Citrus GeneChip. In total, 666 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, 448 upregulated, and 218 downregulated. The DEGs were classified into 33 categories after Gene ontology (GO) annotation, in which 68 genes are in response to stimulus and involved in immune system process, 12 genes are related to cell wall, and 13 genes belong to transcription factors. These genes and those related to starch and sucrose metabolism, glutathione metabolism, biosynthesis of phenylpropanoids, and plant hormones were hypothesized to play major roles in the canker resistance of TG9. Semiquantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that the transcript levels of several candidate genes in TG9 were significantly higher than in WT both before and after Xcc inoculation, indicating their potential association with canker disease.
Xylella fastidiosa was isolated from sweet orange plants (Citrus sinensis) grown in two orchards in the northwest region of the Brazilian state of São Paulo. One orchard was part of a germ plasm field plot used for studies of citrus variegated chlorosis resistance, while the other was an orchard of C. sinensis cv. Pêra clones. These two collections of strains were genotypically characterized by using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) markers. The genetic diversity (HT) values of X. fastidiosa were similar for both sets of strains; however, HTRAPD values were substantially lower than HTVNTR values. The analysis of six strains per plant allowed us to identify up to three RAPD and five VNTR multilocus haplotypes colonizing one plant. Molecular analysis of variance was used to determine the extent to which population structure explained the genetic variation observed. The genetic variation observed in the X. fastidiosa strains was not related to or dependent on the different sweet orange varieties from which they had been obtained. A significant amount of the observed genetic variation could be explained by the variation between strains from different plants within the orchards and by the variation between strains within each plant. It appears, therefore, that the existence of different sweet orange varieties does not play a role in the population structure of X. fastidiosa. The consequences of these results for the management of sweet orange breeding strategies for citrus variegate chlorosis resistance are also discussed.