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A bacterial haloalkane dehalogenase gene as a negative selectable marker in Arabidopsis

Naested, H., Fennema, M., Hao, L., Andersen, M., Janssen, D.B., Mundy, J.
plant journal 1999 v.18 no.5 pp. 571-576
Arabidopsis thaliana, metabolism, biomarkers, Oryza sativa, ethylene dichloride, bacteria, biochemical pathways, hydrolases, Nicotiana tabacum, toxicity, enzyme activity, Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera, metabolites
The dhlA gene of Xanthobacter autotrophicus GJ10 encodes a dehalogenase which hydrolyzes dihaloalkanes, such as 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE), to a halogenated alcohol and an inorganic halide (Janssen et al., 1994, Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 48, 163-191). In Xanthobacter, these alcohols are further catabolized by alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase activities, and by the product of the dhlB gene to a second halide and a hydroxyacid. The intermediate halogenated alcohols and, in particular, the aldehydes are more toxic than the haloalkane substrates or the pathway products. We show here that plants, including Arabidopsis, tobacco, oil seed rape and rice, do not express detectable haloalkane dehalogenase activities, and that wild-type Arabidopsis grows in the presence of DCE. In contrast, DCE applied as a volatile can be used to select on plates or in soil transgenic Arabidopsis which express dhlA. The dhlA marker therefore provides haloalkane dehalogenase reporter activity and substrate dependent negative selection in transgenic plants.