Reasons for lower transformation efficiency in indica rice using Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation: lessons from transformation assays and genome-wide expression profiling.
Tie W, Zhou F, Wang L, Xie W, Chen H, Li X, Lin Y.
National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement and National Center of Plant Gene Research (Wuhan), Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, 430070, China.
Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated genetic transformation has been routinely used in rice for more than a decade. However, the transformation efficiency of the indica rice variety is still unsatisfactory and much lower than that of japonica cultivars. Further improvement on the transformation efficiency lies in the genetic manipulation of the plant itself, which requires a better understanding of the underlying process accounting for the susceptibility of plant cells to Agrobacterium infection as well as the identification of plant genes involved in the transformation process. In this study, transient and stable transformation assays using different japonica and indica cultivars showed that the lower transformation efficiency in indica rice was mainly due to the low efficiency in T-DNA integration into the plant genome. Analyses of the global gene expression patterns across the transformation process in different varieties revealed major differences in the expression of genes responding to Agrobacterium within the first 6 h after infection and more differentially expressed genes were observed in the indica cultivar Zhenshan 97 (ZS), with a number of genes repressed early during infection. Microarray analysis revealed an important effect of plant defense response on Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. It has been shown that some genes which may be necessary for the transformation process were down-regulated in the indica cultivar ZS. This dataset provided a versatile resource for plant genomic research to understand the regulatory network of transformation process, and showed great promise for improving indica rice transformation using genetic manipulation of the rice genome.