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Agrobacterium rhizogenes transformed calli of the holoparasitic plant Phelipanche ramosa maintain parasitic competence

Libiaková, Dagmara, Ruyter-Spira, Carolien, Bouwmeester, Harro J., Matusova, Radoslava
Plant cell, tissue, and organ culture 2018 v.135 no.2 pp. 321-329
Orobanche ramosa, Rhizobium rhizogenes, biochemical pathways, callus, crops, genetic markers, genetic transformation, genetically modified organisms, growth and development, host plants, nutrients, parasitic plants, red fluorescent protein, roots, shoots, weed control
Phelipanche and Orobanche spp. (broomrapes) are economically important parasitic weeds, causing severe damage to many agricultural crops. However, conventional methods to control these parasitic weeds are often not effective. Targeting molecular and biochemical processes involved in the establishment of the connection between the parasite and the host may offer a new perspective for control. However, progress in the understanding of these processes is hampered by the fact that genetic transformation and regeneration of these parasites is difficult if not impossible due to their specific lifecycle. Phelipanche and Orobanche spp. are holoparasites that need to attach to the roots of a host plant to get their assimilates, nutrients and water to develop and reproduce. The present study describes a highly efficient genetic transformation and regeneration protocol for the root holoparasitic Phelipanche ramosa. We present a new transformation system for P. ramosa using Agrobacterium rhizogenes MSU440 carrying a non-destructive selection marker gene coding for a red fluorescent protein (DsRed1). Using this protocol up to 90% transformation efficiency was obtained. We transformed 4 weeks old P. ramosa calli and transgenic calli expressing DsRed1 were then cultured on host plants. For the first time, we present shoot and flower development of the transgenic parasitic plant P. ramosa after successful connection of transgenic calli with the host plant roots. Moreover, we also present, for the first time, growth and development of P. ramosa shoots and flowers in vitro in the absence of a host plant.