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Plant Physiol. 2012 Dec;160(4):2219-26. doi: 10.1104/pp.112.204107. Epub 2012 Oct 18.

Growth of transplastomic cells expressing D-amino acid oxidase in chloroplasts is tolerant to D-alanine and inhibited by D-valine.

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  • 1Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, United Kingdom.


Dual-conditional positive/negative selection markers are versatile genetic tools for manipulating genomes. Plastid genomes are relatively small and conserved DNA molecules that can be manipulated precisely by homologous recombination. High-yield expression of recombinant products and maternal inheritance of plastid-encoded traits make plastids attractive sites for modification. Here, we describe the cloning and expression of a dao gene encoding D-amino acid oxidase from Schizosaccharomyces pombe in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plastids. The results provide genetic evidence for the uptake of D-amino acids into plastids, which contain a target that is inhibited by D-alanine. Importantly, this nonantibiotic-based selection system allows the use of cheap and widely available D-amino acids, which are relatively nontoxic to animals and microbes, to either select against (D-valine) or for (D-alanine) cells containing transgenic plastids. Positive/negative selection with d-amino acids was effective in vitro and against transplastomic seedlings grown in soil. The dual functionality of dao is highly suited to the polyploid plastid compartment, where it can be used to provide tolerance against potential D-alanine-based herbicides, control the timing of recombination events such as marker excision, influence the segregation of transgenic plastid genomes, identify loci affecting dao function in mutant screens, and develop D-valine-based methods to manage the spread of transgenic plastids tagged with dao.

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