Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 76, Issue 3, pp 443–451

Chloramphenicol acetyltransferase as selectable marker for plastid transformation


DOI: 10.1007/s11103-010-9678-4

Cite this article as:
Li, W., Ruf, S. & Bock, R. Plant Mol Biol (2011) 76: 443. doi:10.1007/s11103-010-9678-4


Chloroplast transformation remains a demanding technique and is still restricted to relatively few plant species. The limited availability of selectable marker genes and the lack of selection markers that would be universally applicable to all plant species represent some of the most serious technical problems involved in extending the species range of plastid transformation. Here we report the development of the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene cat as a new selectable marker for plastid transformation. We show that, by selecting for chloramphenicol resistance, tobacco chloroplast transformants are readily obtained. Transplastomic lines quickly reach the homoplasmic state (typically in one additional regeneration round), accumulate the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase enzyme to high levels and transmit their plastid transgenes maternally into the next generation. No spontaneous antibiotic resistance mutants appear upon chloramphenicol selection. Several lines of evidence support the assumption that plant mitochondria are also sensitive to chloramphenicol suggesting that the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase may be a good candidate selectable marker for plant mitochondrial transformation.


Plastid transformationNicotiana tabacumSelectable markerChloramphenicolcat

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare PflanzenphysiologiePotsdam-GolmGermany