The Tobacco BY-2 Cell Line as a Model System to Understand in Planta Nuclear Coactivator Interactions

  • Riyaz A. Bhat
  • Richard D. Thompson
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 53)


Manipulating the expression of a transgene in transient and stably transformed cells is a requirement for many functional analyses. Considerable advances in understanding gene regulation have come from the construction of chimeric genes, the design of methods for transfer of these constructs into target organisms and the study of their expression (Maniatis et al. 1987). The efficient transfer and expression of foreign DNA into intact eukaryotic cells is, therefore, a prerequisite for understanding gene expression and studying the underlying molecular mechanisms. This approach is, however, subject to the constraints of the cellular complexity of the organism under study (Harkins et al. 1990). In order to address this complexity, either one must have the capability to measure gene expression in a given cell-type within the organism, or a second alternative is to generate a population of uniform cell type and manipulate transgene expression in these cells. Established cell lines such as HeLa cells have played an important role in the basic understanding of the molecular and cellular biology of mammalian cells (David and Perrot-Rechenmann 2001). A large number of cell lines have also been obtained from various tissues and many species of higher plants. These include cell lines such as tobacco XD (Filner 1965); soybean (Keller et al. 1970) and the tobacco BY-2 cell line (Kato et al. 1972). Among these, the tobacco BY-2 cell line (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv. Bright Yellow) has shown unique characteristics and has been studied extensively (Nagata et al. 1992). The cell line is highly homogeneous and shows exceptionally high growth rates, doubling in 13–14 h under optimal conditions. The cell line can be easily synchronised following treatment with aphidicolin (a specific inhibitor of DNA polymerase α) and propyzamide (a microtubule-decomposing drug; Nagata and Kumagai 1999). As a result, BY-2 has emerged as a model plant cell line for plant cell cycle studies (Combettes et al. 1999). Furthermore, the BY-2 cell line can be easily transformed and stable transgenic calli and suspension cultures are readily obtained (David and Perrot-Rechenmann 2001). Plant protoplasts have been widely used for the past 30 years, and are undoubtedly still one of the most versatile analytical tools available. Because of its exceptionally high growth rates, BY-2 permits the isolation of large quantities of protoplasts for biochemical analyses. All these unique features make this cell line a powerful tool for plant molecular biologists.


Histone Acetylation Nuclear Localisation Sequence Transient Gene Expression Saga Complex Histone Acetyltransferase Activity 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riyaz A. Bhat
    • 1
  • Richard D. Thompson
    • 2
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für ZüchtungsforschungKölnGermany
  2. 2.INRA-URGELP Legume UnitDijon CédexFrance

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