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author:("Borja, marisa")
1.  Production of engineered long-life and male sterile Pelargonium plants 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:156.
Pelargonium is one of the most popular garden plants in the world. Moreover, it has a considerable economic importance in the ornamental plant market. Conventional cross-breeding strategies have generated a range of cultivars with excellent traits. However, gene transfer via Agrobacterium tumefaciens could be a helpful tool to further improve Pelargonium by enabling the introduction of new genes/traits. We report a simple and reliable protocol for the genetic transformation of Pelargonium spp. and the production of engineered long-life and male sterile Pelargonium zonale plants, using the pSAG12::ipt and PsEND1::barnase chimaeric genes respectively.
The pSAG12::ipt transgenic plants showed delayed leaf senescence, increased branching and reduced internodal length, as compared to control plants. Leaves and flowers of the pSAG12::ipt plants were reduced in size and displayed a more intense coloration. In the transgenic lines carrying the PsEND1::barnase construct no pollen grains were observed in the modified anther structures, which developed instead of normal anthers. The locules of sterile anthers collapsed 3–4 days prior to floral anthesis and, in most cases, the undeveloped anther tissues underwent necrosis.
The chimaeric construct pSAG12::ipt can be useful in Pelargonium spp. to delay the senescence process and to modify plant architecture. In addition, the use of engineered male sterile plants would be especially useful to produce environmentally friendly transgenic plants carrying new traits by preventing gene flow between the genetically modified ornamentals and related plant species. These characteristics could be of interest, from a commercial point of view, both for pelargonium producers and consumers.
PMCID: PMC3492168  PMID: 22935247
Pelargonium zonale; Pelargonium peltatum; pSAG12 promoter; ipt gene; Engineered long-lived plants; Delayed senescence; Engineered male sterility; PsEND1 promoter; Barnase; Anther ablation; Biosafe ornamentals
2.  Extent of Variation of the Bacillus thuringiensis Toxin Reservoir: the Case of the Geranium Bronze, Cacyreus marshalli Butler (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) 
Despite the fact that around 200 cry genes from Bacillus thuringiensis have already been cloned, only a few Cry proteins are toxic towards a given pest. A crucial step in the mode of action of Cry proteins is binding to specific sites in the midgut of susceptible insects. Binding studies in insects that have developed cross-resistance discourage the combined use of Cry proteins sharing the same binding site. If resistance management strategies are to be implemented, the arsenal of Cry proteins suitable to control a given pest may be not so vast as it might seem at first. The present study evaluates the potential of B. thuringiensis for the control of a new pest, the geranium bronze (Cacyreus marshalli Butler), a butterfly that is threatening the popularity of geraniums in Spain. Eleven of the most common Cry proteins from the three lepidopteran-active Cry families (Cry1, Cry2, and Cry9) were tested against the geranium bronze for their toxicity and binding site relationships. Using 125I-labeled Cry1A proteins we found that, of the seven most active Cry proteins, six competed for binding to the same site. For the long-term control of the geranium bronze with B. thuringiensis-based insecticides it would be advisable to combine any of the Cry proteins sharing the binding site (preferably Cry1Ab, since it is the most toxic) with those not competing for the same site. Cry1Ba would be the best choice of these proteins, since it is significantly more toxic than the others not binding to the common site.
PMCID: PMC124026  PMID: 12147511
3.  Broad-Spectrum Protection against Tombusviruses Elicited by Defective Interfering RNAs in Transgenic Plants 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(6):5070-5078.
We have designed a DNA cassette to transcribe defective interfering (DI) RNAs of tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) and have investigated their potential to protect transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana plants from tombusvirus infections. To produce RNAs with authentic 5′ and 3′ termini identical to those of the native B10 DI RNA, the DI RNA sequences were flanked by ribozymes (RzDI). When RzDI RNAs transcribed in vitro were mixed with parental TBSV transcripts and inoculated into protoplasts or plants, they became amplified, reduced the accumulation of the parental RNA, and mediated attenuation of the lethal syndrome characteristic of TBSV infections. Analysis of F1 and F2 RzDI transformants indicated that uninfected plants expressed the DI RNAs in low abundance, but these RNAs were amplified to very high levels during TBSV infection. By two weeks postinoculation with TBSV, all untransformed N. benthamiana plants and transformed negative controls died. Although infection of transgenic RzDI plants initially induced moderate to severe symptoms, these plants subsequently recovered, flowered, and set seed. Plants from the same transgenic lines also exhibited broad-spectrum protection against related tombusviruses but remained susceptible to a distantly related tombus-like virus and to unrelated viruses.
PMCID: PMC112552  PMID: 10233970

Results 1-3 (3)