, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 157-164

The integration of a major hepatitis B virus gene into cell-cycle synchronized carrot cell suspension cultures and its expression in regenerated carrot plants

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The percentage of cells successfully transformed by Agrobacteria is usually very low (not more than 10% and usually much less; Thomas et al., 1989). In this report we show that in carrot (Daucus carota L., ssp. sativus) cell suspensions transformation efficiency was strongly improved by using cell cycle synchronized cells. Fluorodesoxyuridine (FDU) was added for 24 h to inhibit thymidine synthesis. This blocked the cell cycle at the transition from G1- to S-phase. Then the block was released by applying thymidine. A high rate of transformation was obtained when Agrobacterium tumefaciens was added concurrently with thymidine. As examples of efficient and long term foreign gene expression in transgenic cells, the reporter enzyme β-glucuronidase (GUS) as a model as well as the major hepatitis B virus surface protein were used. Both genes were linked to the MAS promoter. In carrot cell suspensions containing the viral gene, the corresponding viral protein was produced. In roots of mature transgenic carrot plants generated through somatic embryogenesis and raised in soil as well as in callus cultures derived thereof, the viral protein was also produced.