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Plant J. 1995 Nov;8(5):637-52.

FLP recombinase in transgenic plants: constitutive activity in stably transformed tobacco and generation of marked cell clones in Arabidopsis.

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Institute of Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, UK.


FLP site-specific recombinase was expressed in stably transformed tobacco and Arabidopsis. FLP-expressing tobacco lines were crossed with other transformed tobacco lines that contained a stably integrated FLP recognition target construct(s). The target construct consisted of two directly-oriented FLP recognition targets (FRTs), flanking a hygromycin resistance cassette located between a GUS coding region and an upstream 35S CaMV promoter. Excision of the hygromycin resistance cassette by FLP-mediated recombination between FRTs brings the GUS coding region under the transcriptional control of the CaMV 35S promoter. In the absence of FLP-mediated recombination, the GUS gene is transcriptionally silent. GUS activity was observed in the progeny of all crosses made between FLP recombinase-expressing and target-containing tobacco lines, but not in the selfs of parents. The predicted recombination product remaining after excision was confirmed by PCR and Southern analysis. In Arabidopsis, inducible expression of FLP recombinase was achieved from the soybean Gmhsp 17.6L heat-shock promoter. Heat-shock induction of FLP expression in plants containing the target construct led to activation of constitutive GUS expression in a subset of cells, whose progeny, therefore, were GUS-positive. A variety of clonal sectors were produced in plants derived from seed that was heat-shocked during germination. The ability to control the timing of GUS activation was demonstrated by heat-shock of unopened flower heads which produced large sectors. It was concluded that heat-shock-induced expression of FLP recombinase provides a readily controllable method for generating marked clonal sectors in Arabidopsis, the size and distribution of which reflects the timing of applied heat-shock.

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