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Plant Cell Rep. 2004 Sep;23(3):134-43. Epub 2004 May 5.

Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation and development of herbicide-resistant sugarcane (Saccharum species hybrids) using axillary buds.

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Department of Biotechnology, Bharathidasan University, 620 024, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India.


Direct regeneration from explants without an intervening callus phase has several advantages, including production of true type progenies. Axillary bud explants from 6-month-old sugarcane cultivars Co92061 and Co671 were co-cultivated with Agrobacterium strains LBA4404 and EHA105 that harboured a binary vector pGA492 carrying neomycin phosphotransferase II, phosphinothricin acetyltransferase (bar) and an intron containing beta-glucuronidase (gus-intron) genes in the T-DNA region. A comparison of kanamycin, geneticin and phosphinothricin (PPT) selection showed that PPT (5.0 mg l(-1)) was the most effective selection agent for axillary bud transformation. Repeated proliferation of shoots in the selection medium eliminated chimeric transformants. Transgenic plants were generated in three different steps: (1) production of putative primary transgenic shoots in Murashige-Skoog (MS) liquid medium with 3.0 mg l(-1) 6-benzyladenine (BA) and 5.0 mg l(-1) PPT, (2) production of secondary transgenic shoots from the primary transgenic shoots by growing them in MS liquid medium with 2.0 mg l(-1) BA, 1.0 mg l(-1) kinetin (Kin), 0.5 mg l(-1) alpha-napthaleneacetic acid (NAA) and 5.0 mg l(-1) PPT for 3 weeks, followed by five more cycles of shoot proliferation and selection under same conditions, and (3) rooting of transgenic shoots on half-strength MS liquid medium with 0.5 mg l(-1) NAA and 5.0 mg l(-1) PPT. About 90% of the regenerated shoots rooted and 80% of them survived during acclimatisation in greenhouse. Transformation was confirmed by a histochemical beta-glucuronidase (GUS) assay and PCR amplification of the bar gene. Southern blot analysis indicated integration of the bar gene in two genomic locations in the majority of transformants. Transformation efficiency was influenced by the co-cultivation period, addition of the phenolic compound acetosyringone and the Agrobacterium strain. A 3-day co-cultivation with 50 micro M acetosyringone considerably increased the transformation efficiency. Agrobacterium strain EHA105 was more effective, producing twice the number of transgenic shoots than strain LBA4404 in both Co92061 and Co671 cultivars. Depending on the variety, 50-60% of the transgenic plants sprayed with BASTA (60 g l(-1) glufosinate) grew without any herbicide damage under greenhouse conditions. These results show that, with this protocol, generation and multiplication of transgenic shoots can be achieved in about 5 months with transformation efficiencies as high as 50%.

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