Variable T-DNA linkage configuration affects inheritance of carotenogenic transgenes and carotenoid accumulation in transgenic indica rice

Abstract

Transgenics for the expression of β-carotene biosynthetic pathway in the endosperm were developed in indica rice background by introducing phytoene synthase (psy) and phytoene desaturase (crtI) genes through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, employing non-antibiotic positive selectable marker phosphomannose isomerase (pmi). Twenty-seven transgenic lines were characterized for the structural organization of T-DNA inserts and the expression of transgenes in terms of total carotenoid and β-carotene accumulation in the endosperm. Ten lines were also studied for the inheritance of transgenic loci to the T1 progenies. Copy number and sites of integration of the transgenes ranged from one to four. Almost 50% of the transgenic lines showed rearrangement of T-DNA inserts. However, most of the rearrangements occurred in the crtI expression cassette which is adjacent to the right T-DNA border. Differences in copy numbers of psy and crtI were also observed indicating partial T-DNA integration. Beyond T-DNA border transfer was also detected in 25% of the lines. Fifty percent of the lines studied showed single Mendelian locus inheritance, while two lines showed bi-locus inheritance in the T1 progenies. Some of the lines segregating in 3:1 ratio showed two sites of integration on restriction digestion analysis indicating that the T-DNA insertion sites were tightly linked. Three transgenic lines showed nonparental types in the segregating progenies, indicating unstable transgenic locus. Evidences from the HPLC analysis showed that multiple copies of transgenes had a cumulative effect on the accumulation of carotenoid in the endosperm. T1 progenies, in general, accumulated more carotenoids than their respective parents, the highest being 6.77 μg/g of polished seeds. High variation in the carotenoid accumulation was observed within the T1 progenies which could be attributed to the variation in the structural organization and expression of transgenes, minor variations in the genetic background within the progeny plants, or differences in the plant microenvironments. The study identified lines worthy of further multiplication and breeding based on transgene structural integrity in the segregating progeny and high expression levels in terms of the β-carotene accumulation.

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Acknowledgments

Financial support from USAID and HarvestPlus is acknowledged. Thanks are due to Syngenta for an international collaborative programme. We thank Dr. Peter Beyer for providing the pCaCar plasmid. The authors are grateful to Ms. Lina Torrizo for editorial assistance.

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Correspondence to Mayank Rai.

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Communicated by H. Ebinuma.

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Rai, M., Datta, K., Parkhi, V. et al. Variable T-DNA linkage configuration affects inheritance of carotenogenic transgenes and carotenoid accumulation in transgenic indica rice. Plant Cell Rep 26, 1221–1231 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00299-007-0333-8

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Keywords

  • Agrobacterium-mediated transformation
  • β-Carotene
  • Phoshphomannose isomerase
  • Provitamin A
  • T-DNA integration
  • Transgene expression