, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 637-646
Date: 02 Sep 2006

Transformation of poplar (Populus alba) plastids and expression of foreign proteins in tree chloroplasts

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Plastid transformation offers several unique advantages compared with nuclear genome transformation, such as high level of transgene expression within plastids, expressing multiple transgenes as operons, lack of position effect due to site-specific transgene integration, and reducing risks of gene flow via pollen due to maternal inheritance of the plastid genome. Plastid transformation has been applied to several herbal species, but as yet there are no applications to tree species. We report here the first successful plastid transformation in a tree species, Populus alba. A vector for plastid transformation of poplar (Populus alba) was constructed, which carried the spectinomycin resistance gene and the green fluorescence protein gene as marker genes. In the regenerated shoots, the site-specific integration of foreign genes and the establishment of a high homoplastomic state were confirmed. Immunoblot analysis and histological observations corroborated the accumulation of green fluorescence protein in chloroplasts. The establishment of a plastid transformation system in poplar provides a novel tool for tree biotechnology.