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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Jul;68(7):3345-51.

In situ transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from transgenic (transplastomic) tobacco plants to bacteria.

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  • 1Ecologie Microbienne, UMR CNRS 5557, Université Claude Bernard, Lyon 1, 43 boulevard du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France.


Interkingdom gene transfer is limited by a combination of physical, biological, and genetic barriers. The results of greenhouse experiments involving transplastomic plants (genetically engineered chloroplast genomes) cocolonized by pathogenic and opportunistic soil bacteria demonstrated that these barriers could be eliminated. The Acinetobacter sp. strain BD413, which is outfitted with homologous sequences to chloroplastic genes, coinfected a transplastomic tobacco plant with Ralstonia solanacearum and was transformed by the plant's transgene (aadA) containing resistance to spectinomycin and streptomycin. However, no transformants were observed when the homologous sequences were omitted from the Acinetobacter sp. strain. Detectable gene transfer from these transgenic plants to bacteria were dependent on gene copy number, bacterial competence, and the presence of homologous sequences. Our data suggest that by selecting plant transgene sequences that are nonhomologous to bacterial sequences, plant biotechnologists could restore the genetic barrier to transgene transfer to bacteria.

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