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Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.) using shoot apex explants

Antony Ceasar, S., Ignacimuthu, S.
Plant cell reports 2011 v.30 no.9 pp. 1759-1770
Agrobacterium, Eleusine coracana, Southern blotting, acetosyringone, callus, explants, genetic markers, genotype, inoculum, millets, progeny, reporter genes, shoots, transgenes, transgenic plants
A new Agrobacterium-mediated transformation system was developed for finger millet using shoot apex explants. The Agrobacterium strain LBA4404 harboring binary vector pCAMBIA1301, which contained hygromycin phosphotransferase (hptII) as selectable marker gene and β-glucuronidase (GUS) as reporter gene, was used for optimization of transformation conditions. Two finger millet genotypes, GPU 45 and CO 14, were used in this study. The optimal conditions for the Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of finger millet were found to be the co-cultivation of explants obtained on the 16th day after callus induction (DACI), exposure of explants for 30 min to agrobacterial inoculum and 3 days of co-cultivation on filter paper placed on medium supplemented with 100 μM acetosyringone (AS). Addition of 100 μM L: -cysteine in the selection medium enhanced the frequency of transformation and transgenic plant recovery. Both finger millet genotypes were transformed by Agrobacterium. A frequency of 19% transient expression with 3.8% stable transformation was achieved in genotype GPU 45 using optimal conditions. Five stably transformed plants were fully characterized by Southern blot analysis. A segregation analysis was also performed in four R(1) progenies, which showed normal Mendelian pattern of transgene segregation. The inheritance of transgenes in R(1) progenies was also confirmed by Southern blot analysis. This is the first report on Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of finger millet. This study underpins the introduction of numerous agronomically important genes into the genome of finger millet in the future.