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Nat Biotechnol. 1999 Sep;17(9):910-5.

Fluorescent antibiotic resistance marker for tracking plastid transformation in higher plants.

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Waksman Institute, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 190 Frelinghuysen Rd., Piscataway, NJ 08854-8020, USA.


Plastid transformation in higher plants is accomplished through a gradual process, during which all the 300-10,000 plastid genome copies are uniformly altered. Antibiotic resistance genes incorporated in the plastid genome facilitate maintenance of transplastomes during this process. Given the high number of plastid genome copies in a cell, transformation unavoidably yields chimeric tissues, which requires the identification of transplastomic cells in order to regenerate plants. In the chimeric tissue, however, antibiotic resistance is not cell autonomous: transplastomic and wild-type sectors both have a resistant phenotype because of phenotypic masking by the transgenic cells. We report a system of marker genes for plastid transformation, termed FLARE-S, which is obtained by translationally fusing aminoglycoside 3"-adenyltransferase with the Aequorea victoria green fluorescent protein. 3"-adenyltransferase (FLARE-S) confers resistance to both spectinomycin and streptomycin. The utility of FLARE-S is shown by tracking segregation of individual transformed and wild-type plastids in tobacco and rice plants after bombardment with FLARE-S vector DNA and selection for spectinomycin and streptomycin resistance, respectively. This method facilitates the extension of plastid transformation to nongreen plastids in embryogenic cells of cereal crops.

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