2013 Annual Report
Citrus scions continue to advance which have been transformed with diverse constructs including AMPs, hairpins to suppress PP-2 through RNA interference (RNAi)(to test possible reduction in vascular blockage even when Candidatus Liberibacter (CLas) is present), a citrus promoter driving citrus defensins (citGRP1 and citGRP2), and genes which may induce deciduousness in citrus. Putative transgenic plants of several PP-2 hairpins and of PP-2 directly are grafted in the greenhouse and growing for transgene verification, replication and testing. Over 30 putative transgenic plants with citGRP1 were transferred to soil. They will soon be ready for RNA isolation and Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to check gene expression. About 10 transgenic Hamlin shoots with citGRP2 are in the rooting medium for rooting. Fifteen transgenic Hamlin shoots with peach dormancy related gene MADS6 are in the rooting medium for rooting.In addition numerous putative transformants are present on the selective media. A chimeral construct that should enhance AMP effectiveness was completed and used to transform Hamlin. Some kanamycin-resistant shoots have already been obtained and rooted.
To explore broad spectrum resistant plants, a flagellin receptor gene FLS2 from tobacco was amplified and cloned into pBinARSplus vector. Flagellins are frequently PAMPS (pathogenesis associated molecular patterns) in disease systems and CLas has a full flagellin gene despite having no flagella detected to date. The consensus FLS2 clone was obtained and will be use to transform Hamlin and Carrizo so that resistance transduction may be enhanced in citrus responding to HLB and other diseases. Other targets identified in genomic analyses are also being pursued.
A series of transgenics scions produced in the last several years continue to move forward in the testing pipeline. Several D35S::D4E1 sweet oranges show initial growth in the field which exceeds that of controls. A large number of ubiquitin::D4E1 and WDV::D4E1 plants and smaller numbers with other AMPs are replicated and queued for testing with no-choice ACP and then free-flying ACP infection.