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Plant Cell Rep. 2016 Mar;35(3):601-11. doi: 10.1007/s00299-015-1906-6. Epub 2015 Dec 9.

Constitutive expression of the tzs gene from Agrobacterium tumefaciens virG mutant strains is responsible for improved transgenic plant regeneration in cotton meristem transformation.

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Monsanto Company, 700 Chesterfield Pkwy, St. Louis, MO, 63017, USA.
Agracetus Campus, Monsanto Company, 8520 University Green, P. O. Box 620999, Middleton, WI, 53562, USA.
Monsanto Company, 700 Chesterfield Pkwy, St. Louis, MO, 63017, USA.
Calgene Campus, Monsanto Company, 1920 Fifth St, Davis, CA, 95616, USA.


KEY MESSAGE : virG mutant strains of a nopaline type of Agrobacterium tumefaciens increase the transformation frequency in cotton meristem transformation. Constitutive cytokinin expression from the tzs gene in the virG mutant strains is responsible for the improvement. Strains of Agrobacterium tumefaciens were tested for their ability to improve cotton meristem transformation frequency. Two disarmed A. tumefaciens nopaline strains with either a virGN54D constitutively active mutation or virGI77V hypersensitive induction mutation significantly increased the transformation frequency in a cotton meristem transformation system. The virG mutant strains resulted in greener explants after three days of co-culture in the presence of light, which could be attributed to a cytokinin effect of the mutants. A tzs knockout strain of virGI77V mutant showed more elongated, less green explants and decreased cotton transformation frequency, as compared to a wild type parental strain, suggesting that expression of the tzs gene is required for transformation frequency improvement in cotton meristem transformation. In vitro cytokinin levels in culture media were tenfold higher in the virGN54D strain, and approximately 30-fold higher in the virGI77V strain, in the absence of acetosyringone induction, compared to the wild type strain. The cytokinin level in the virGN54D strain is further increased upon acetosyringone induction, while the cytokinin level in the virGI77V mutant is decreased by induction, suggesting that different tzs gene expression regulation mechanisms are present in the two virG mutant strains. Based on these data, we suggest that the increased cytokinin levels play a major role in increasing Agrobacterium attachment and stimulating localized division of the attached plant cells.


Agrobacterium-mediated transformation; Cotton; Cytokinin synthesis; Gossypium hirsutum L.; Meristem explants; tzs gene expression; virG mutation

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