Enhanced resistance to citrus canker in transgenic mandarin expressing Xa21 from rice
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Genetic engineering approaches offer an alternative method to the conventional breeding of Citrus sp. ‘W. Murcott’ mandarin (a hybrid of ‘Murcott’ and an unknown pollen parent) is one of the most commercially important cultivars grown in many regions around the world. Transformation of ‘W. Murcott’ mandarin was achieved by direct DNA uptake using a protoplast transformation system. DNA construct (pAO3), encoding Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and the cDNA of Xa21, a Xanthomonas resistance gene from rice, was used to transform protoplasts of ‘W. Murcott’ mandarin. Following citrus protoplast culture and regeneration, transformed micro calli were microscopically designated via GFP expression, physically isolated from non-transformed tissue, and cultured on somatic embryogenesis induction medium. More than 150 transgenic embryos were recovered and from them, ten transgenic lines were regenerated and cultured on rooting medium for shoot elongation. Transgenic shoots were micrografted and established in the greenhouse with 3–5 replicates per line. The insertion of Xa21 and GFP was confirmed by PCR and southern blot analysis. GFP expression was verified by fluorescence microscopy and western blot analysis revealed expression of Xa21 although it was variable among transgenic lines, as shown by RT-qPCR. Transgenic plants challenged with the citrus canker pathogen by syringe inoculation showed a reduction in lesion number and bacterial populations within lesions compared to non-transgenic control plants. Transgenic ‘W. Murcott’ mandarin lines with improved canker resistance via protoplast transformation from embryogenic callus with the Xa21 gene from rice are being evaluated under field conditions to validate the level of resistance.
KeywordsProtoplast/GFP transformation Citrus Citrus canker assay Transgene insertion sites Disease resistance
Authors would like to thank the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), and New Varieties Development and Management Corporation (NVDMC) for financial support.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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