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Plant Biotechnol J. 2006 Mar;4(2):251-61.

Genetic transformation of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) via infection of androgenetic pollen cultures with Agrobacterium tumefaciens.

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Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research Gatersleben, Plant Reproductive Biology, Corrensstr. 3, 06466 Gatersleben, Germany.


A novel genetic transformation method for barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), based on infection of androgenetic pollen cultures with Agrobacterium tumefaciens, is presented. Winter-type barley cv. 'Igri' was amenable to stable integration of transgenes mediated by A. tumefaciens strain LBA4404 harbouring a vector system that confers hypervirulence, or by the non-hypervirulent strain GV3101 with a standard binary vector. The efficacy of gene transfer was substantially influenced by pollen pre-culture time, choice of Agrobacterium strain and vector system, Agrobacterium population density, medium pH and the concentrations of acetosyringone, CaCl(2) and glutamine. After co-culture, rapid removal of viable agrobacteria was crucial for subsequent development of the pollen culture. To this end, the growth of agrobacteria was suppressed by the concerted effects of appropriate antibiotics, low pH, reduced level of glutamine and high concentrations of CaCl(2) and acetosyringone. Following infection with LBA4404 and GV3101, about 31% and 69%, respectively, of the primary transgenic (T(0)) plants carried a single copy of the sequence integrated. The use of hypervirulent A. tumefaciens and hygromycin resistance as a selectable marker resulted in 3.7 T(0) plants per donor spike. About 60% of the primary transgenic plants set seed, indicating spontaneous genome doubling. An analysis of 20 T(1) populations revealed that four progenies did not segregate for reporter gene expression. This indicates that the approach pursued enables the generation of instantly homozygous primary transgenic plants. The method established will be a valuable tool in functional genomics as well as for the biotechnological improvement of barley.

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