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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #405253

Research Project: Evaluation and Genetic Improvement of Woody Ornamental Landscape Plants

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Title: Transient gene expression in Petunia flower petals as a toolbox

item Duan, Hui

Submitted to: Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/9/2023
Publication Date: 8/24/2023
Citation: Duan, H. 2023. Transient gene expression in Petunia flower petals as a toolbox. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology.

Interpretive Summary: Biotechnology, including transgenic technologies and gene-editing, is a promising tool that can complement traditional breeding in ornamental crops. However, the application of biotechnology requires knowledge of the function of the target genes. In addition, for many traits, the effects of gene manipulation can only be observed after the lengthy and labor-intensive process of generating stable engineered plants. Therefore, a fast, effective transient assay is needed to narrow down the target gene and gene combinations, as well as to optimize bioengineering strategies. Using petunia flower petals as a model, ARS scientists developed efficient methods to test gene function, metabolic engineering strategies, and to optimize gene editing components. The method is applicable to other ornamental plants, including woody ornamental plants.

Technical Abstract: Agroinfiltration-mediated transient expression is wildly used in plant gene functional studies. In this study, the functionality of a metabolic engineering construct containing multiple expression cassettes for Betalain biosynthesis genes was validated via agroinfiltration in petunia flower petal. The effects of transcription factors that upregulate anthocyanin biosynthesis and a gene that regulate cellular PH were also demonstrated on petunia petal by agroinfiltration. We also showed that flower petal agroinfiltration is a quick approach to test gene editing components, e.g., different gRNAs. In general, the agroinfiltration-mediated transient transformation in flower petals is a great tool for testing flowering color-related trait genes, as well as for optimizing gene editing components.