JoVE Logo
Faculty Resource Center

Sign In





Representative Results






An Efficient and Reproducible Method for Producing Composite Plants by Agrobacterium rhizogenes-Based Hairy Root Transformation

Published: June 30th, 2023



1College of Agriculture, Liaocheng University, 2College of Life Science, Liaocheng University
* These authors contributed equally

Here, we provide the detailed protocol of a one-step transformation method mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens to produce composite plants.

Producing composite plants with transgenic roots and nontransgenic stems and buds using Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated hairy root transformation is a powerful tool to study root-related biology. Hairy root transformation is established in a wide range of dicotyledons and in several monocotyledon species and is almost independent of the genotype. The traditional method of hypocotyl injection with A. rhizogenes to obtain composite plants is inefficient, time-consuming, laborious, and frequently causes the death of tender and tiny hypocotyl plants. A highly efficient, one-step hairy root transformation mediated by A. rhizogenes was established previously, which eliminates the need for transplanting after producing hairy roots. In this study, a partial hypocotyl and primary root were removed, the hypocotyl incision site was coated with A. rhizogenes, and then hypocotyls were planted in sterile vermiculite. After 12 days of cultivation, the hypocotyl incision expanded and new hairy roots were induced. This article provides the detailed protocol of a one-step transformation method mediated by A. rhizogenes, with its effectiveness demonstrated by producing composite plants of wild soybean, Solanum americanum, and pumpkin.

Agrobacterium rhizogenes is a gram-negative soil bacterium from the family Rhizobiaceae. A. rhizogenes can infect almost all dicotyledons, a few monocotyledons, and individual gymnosperms through wounds, producing hairy roots in infected plants. The bacterium carries the Ri (root-inducing) plasmid, and the T-DNA of the Ri plasmid carries the opine synthesis gene and rol genes (root locus genes). After the T-DNA of the Ri plasmid enters a plant cell and is integrated into a host chromosome, the expression of the rol genes induces production of hairy roots1. A plant binary expression vector carrying a ....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

1. Plant growth conditions and A. rhizogenes culture

  1. Seed sowing
    NOTE: Wild soybean seeds were collected in Yanggu County, Liaocheng, China; seeds of S. americanum and pumpkin local variety Yinsu were purchased from a market.
    1. Collect seeds of wild soybean, S. americanum, and the local variety of pumpkin, sow them in vermiculite at a depth of 1 cm, and thoroughly water them. Plant 20 seeds in 8 cm x 11 cm x 9 cm plastic boxes. Cultivate the plants.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Highly efficient one-step A. rhizogenes-mediated hairy root transformation
Hairy roots were produced at the hypocotyl incision site 12 days after inoculation with engineered K599. Transgenic hairy roots were determined based on the expression of the reporter gene contained in the binary vector. Transgenic roots transformed with the reporter gene DsRed2 of composite wild soybean, S. americanum, and pumpkin were observed under natural (Figure 2A

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The one-step A. rhizogenes-mediated hairy root method is a simpler and more efficient method for producing composite plants than the hypocotyl-injection method. The one-step ARM method significantly improves the efficiency of hairy root transformation, shortens the time to produce hairy roots, increases the number of hairy roots, and reduces the amount of work involved. The improved transformation protocol is optimal for studies on symbioses between leguminous plants and rhizobia and between plants and arbu.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

This work was supported by the Research Fund of Liaocheng University (318012028) and the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (ZR2020MC034).


Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Name Company Catalog Number Comments
kanamycin Sangon Biotech (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. A506636
LB medium Sangon Biotech (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. B540113
plastic box LiaoSu 8 cm x 11 cm x 9 cm
pumpkin local variety Yinsu
streptomycin Sangon Biotech (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. A610494 
Tanon-5200Multi machine Tanon Co., Ltd., China 5200Multi chemiluminescence imaging system
tomato local variety Zhongshu4
wild soybean collected in Yanggu County, Liaocheng, China

  1. Chilton, M. D., et al. Agrobacterium rhizogenes inserts T-DNA into the genome of the host plant root cells. Nature. 295, 432-434 (1982).
  2. Fan, Y., et al. A fast, simple, high efficient and one-step generation of composite cucumber plants with transgenic roots by Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC). 141, 207-216 (2020).
  3. Du, H., et al. Efficient targeted mutagenesis in soybean by TALENs and CRISPR/Cas9. Journal of Biotechnology. 217, 90-97 (2016).
  4. Nguyen, D. V., et al. An efficient hairy root system for validation of plant transformation vector and CRISPR/Cas construct activities in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.). Frontiers in Plant Science. 12, 770062 (2022).
  5. Liu, S., et al. AtGCS promoter-driven clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/Cas9 highly efficiently generates homozygous/biallelic mutations in the transformed roots by Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation. Frontiers in Plant Science. 13, 952428 (2022).
  6. Irigoyen, S., et al. Plant hairy roots enable high throughput identification of antimicrobials against Candidatus Liberibacter spp. Nature Communications. 11 (1), 5802 (2020).
  7. Plasencia, A., et al. Eucalyptus hairy roots, a fast, efficient and versatile tool to explore function and expression of genes involved in wood formation. Plant Biotechnology Journal. 14 (6), 1381-1393 (2016).
  8. Gutierrez-Valdes, N., et al. Hairy root cultures-a versatile tool with multiple applications. Frontiers in Plant Science. 11, 33 (2020).
  9. Stougaard, J. Agrobacterium rhizogenes as a vector for transforming higher plants. Application in Lotus corniculatus transformation. Methods in Molecular Biology. 49, 49-61 (1995).
  10. Kereszt, A., et al. Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation of soybean to study root biology. Nature Protocols. 2 (4), 948-952 (2007).
  11. Ho-Plágaro, T., Huertas, R., Tamayo-Navarrete, M. I., Ocampo, J. A., García-Garrido, J. M. An improved method for Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation of tomato suitable for the study of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. Plant Methods. 14, 34 (2018).
  12. Yu, Y., et al. Overexpression of phosphatidylserine synthase IbPSS1 affords cellular Na+ homeostasis and salt tolerance by activating plasma membrane Na+/H+ antiport activity in sweet potato roots. Horticulture Research. 7, 131 (2020).
  13. Boisson-Dernier, A., et al. Agrobacterium rhizogenes-transformed roots of Medicago truncatula for the study of nitrogen-fixing and endomycorrhizal symbiotic associations. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions: MPMI. 14 (6), 695-700 (2001).
  14. Fan, Y., et al. One-step generation of composite soybean plants with transgenic roots by Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation. BMC Plant Biology. 20 (1), 208 (2020).
  15. Fan, Y., et al. Anthocyanin, a novel and user-friendly reporter for convenient, non-destructive, low cost, directly visual selection of transgenic hairy roots in the study of rhizobia-legume symbiosis. Plant Methods. 16, 94 (2020).
  16. Wang, X., et al. Application of AtMYB75 as a reporter gene in the study of symbiosis between tomato and Funneliformis mosseae. Mycorrhiza. 33 (3), 181-185 (2023).
  17. Wang, X., et al. Development of a set of novel binary expression vectors for plant gene function analysis and genetic transformation. Frontiers in Plant Science. 13, 1104905 (2023).
  18. Li, Q. Q., et al. Phytochrome B inhibits darkness-induced hypocotyl adventitious root formation by stabilizing IAA14 and suppressing ARF7 and ARF19. The Plant Journal: For Cell and Molecular Biology. 105 (6), 1689-1702 (2021).

This article has been published

Video Coming Soon

JoVE Logo


Terms of Use





Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved