Technological evolutions in plant transformation

30 July 2016
Transformation is an essential tool for functional analysis of genes in model organisms, such as Arabidopsis and maize, and thus essential in the VIB Department of Plant Systems Biology, UGent.​

Arabidopsis transformation service (Carina Braeckman)
Agrobacterium-mediated floral dip of Arabidopsis plants at early flowering stage generates seed stocks for around a thousand constructs per year in six weeks. Upon germination in tissue culture at high density by the user, T0 transgenic seedlings are selected that produce transgenic T1 seeds in the growth room in fourteen weeks. Requests for Arabidopsis transformation are made through an electronic website, flexibility in ecotype/genotype is provided. Throughput is further optimized by improving standard growth conditions of supply plants for dipping.

Maize transformation platform (Stijn Aesaert and Griet Coussens)
Agrobacterium co-cultivation of inbred maize immature embryos and subsequent tissue culture generates transgenic shoots that are grown in the greenhouse and backcrossed to wild type yielding with an average of ten T1 transgenic seed events per construct; the entire procedure takes eight months. Requests for maize transformation are submitted to a committee for approval. Currently, fifty constructs per year are transformed into maize. Maize transformation is further optimized to reduce the tissue culture timeline, to enhance tissue competence for Agrobacterium infection, to increase somatic embryogenesis and plantlet regeneration capacity.

Mieke Van Lijsebettens coordinates both the Arabidopsis Transformation Service and the Maize
Transformation Platform.