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Plant Growth and Agrobacterium-mediated Floral-dip Transformation of the Extremophyte Schrenkiella parvula

Published: January 7th, 2019



1Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University

Agrobacterium-mediated transformation using a floral-dip method can be successfully employed to create stable transgenic lines of the extremophyte model Schrenkiella parvula. We present a protocol modified from that for Arabidopsis thaliana, considering different growth habits and physiological characteristics of the extremophyte.

Schrenkiella parvula is an extremophyte adapted to various abiotic stresses, including multiple ion toxicity stresses. Despite high-quality genomic resources available to study how plants adapt to environmental stresses, its value as a functional genomics model and tool has been limited by the lack of a feasible transformation system. In this protocol, we report how to generate stable transgenic S. parvula lines using an Agrobacterium-mediated floral-dip method. We modified the transformation protocol used for A. thaliana to account for unique traits of S. parvula, such as an indeterminate flowering habit and a high epicuticular wax content on leaves. Briefly, S. parvula seeds were stratified at 4 °C for five days before planting. Plants were grown at a photoperiod of a 14 h light and 10 h dark and a 130 µmol m-2s-1 light intensity, at 22 °C to 24 °C. Eight to nine week-old plants with multiple inflorescences were selected for transformation. These inflorescences were dipped in an infiltration solution of Agrobacterium tumefaciens GV3101 carrying the pMP90RK plasmid. We performed two rounds of flower dipping with an interval of three to four weeks to increase the transformation efficiency. The T1 seeds were collected and dried for four weeks in a container with desiccants before germination to screen for candidate transformed lines. Resistance to BASTA was used to screen T1 plants. We sprayed the BASTA solution three times with an interval of three days starting at two week-old plants to reduce false positives. A BASTA drop test was performed on surviving individual plants to identify true positive transformants. The transformation efficiency was 0.033%, yielding 3–4 transgenic plants per 10,000 T1 seeds propagated.

In this protocol, we describe the growth and establishment of stable transgenic lines for the extremophyte model Schrenkiella parvula. The availability of an efficient transformation system is a hallmark of any versatile genetic model. Plants that thrive in extreme environments, referred to as extremophytes, provide a critical resource for understanding plant adaptations to environmental stresses. Schrenkiella parvula (formerly Thellungiella parvula and Eutrema parvulum) is one such extremophyte model, with expanding genomic resources1,2,3<....

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1. Plant Growth

  1. Seed sterilization (optional)
    1. Prepare 50% bleach in double-distilled water (ddH2O) with 1 or 2 drops of a non-ionic detergent (see Table of Materials) in a 50 mL tube. Invert the tube several times to mix the solution.
      NOTE: It is preferable to conduct seed sterilization in a laminar flow cabinet with a UV sterilized surface for 15 min.
    2. Add the bleach solution to ~100–200 S. parvula seed.......

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We developed a transformation protocol that enables harvesting of T0 seeds within 150 days, using a floral-dip method modified from that for A. thaliana. Figure 1 shows a summary of the timeline and S. parvula plants that represent the optimal stage for executing the transformation through floral-dip. We selected S. parvula plants with 70 –80 flowers in multiple inflorescences at 60–80 days after germination a.......

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The physiological state of the plant significantly influences the efficiency of transformation25. The use of healthy and vigorous plants for transformation is a key requirement for successful transformation in S. parvula. Water or light stressed plants will have fewer flowers compared to the healthy plants ideal for transformation (Figure 1, center panel). S. parvula can grow at a light intensity less than 130 µmol m-2 s-1,.......

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This work was supported by a National Science Foundation award MCB 1616827.


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Agar VWR International, Radnor, PA 90000-762 Bacto Agar Soldifying Agent, BD Diagnostics
B5 vitamins Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO G1019 Gamborg’s Vitamin Solution
Desiccant W A Hammond Drierite, Xenia, OH 22005 Indicating DRIERITE 6 mesh
Destination vector for plant transformation TAIR Vector:6531113857 pKGWFS7
Electroporation cuvette USA Scientific 9104-5050 Electroporation cuvette, round cap, 0.2 cm gap
Electroporator BIO-RAD Laboratories, Hercules, CA 1652100 MicroPulser Electroporator
Fertilizer beads Osmocote Garden, Marysville, OH N/A Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Flower & Vegetable
Gel extraction kit iNtRON Biotechnology, Boston, MA 17289 MEGAquick-spin Total fragment DNA purification kit
Gentamicin Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO G1914-5G Gentamicin sulfate
Glufosinate-ammonium (11.3%) herbicide (BASTA) Bayer environmental science, Montvale, NJ N/A FINALE herbicide
Kanamycin VWR International, Radnor, PA 200004-444 Kanamycin monosulfate
MES Bioworld, Dublin, OH 41320024-2 MES, Free Acid
MS salt MP Biomedicals, Santa Anna, CA 092621822 Hoagland's modified basal salt mixture
N6-benzylaminopurine (BA)  Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO B3274 6-Benzylaminopurine solution
NaCl Sigma-Alrich S7653 Sodium chloride
Non-ionic detergent Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO 9005-64-5 TWEEN 20 
Plasmid isolation kit Zymo Research, Irvine, CA D4036 Zyppy Plasmid Kits
Recombinase enzyme mix kit Life Technology 11791-020 Gateway LR Clonase II Enzyme mix
Rifampicin Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO R3501-1G Rifampicin, powder, >= 97% (HPLC)
Shaking incubator ThermoFisher Scientific, Waltham, MA SHKE4450 MaxQ 4450 Benchtop Orbital Shakers
Soil mix Sun Gro SUN239223328CFLP Sun Gro Metro-Mix 360 Grower Mix
Spectinomycin VWR International, Radnor, PA IC15206705
Sterile 50ml conical tubes USA Scientific, Ocala, FL 1500-1811 50 ml conical screw cap tubes, copolymer, racks, sterile
Sucrose VWR International, Radnor, PA 57-50-1 Sucrose, ACS
Surfactant solution Lehle seeds, Round Rock, TX VIS-02 Silwet L-77
Topoisomerase-based cloning kit Life Technologies, Carlsbad, CA K240020 pENTR/D-TOPO Cloning Kit, with One Shot TOP10 Chemically Competent E. coli
Tryptone VWR International, Radnor, PA 90000-282 BD Bacto Tryptone, BD Biosciences
Yeast Extract VWR International, Radnor, PA 90000-722  BD Bacto Yeast Extract, BD Biosciences

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