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Efficient transformation of oil palm protoplasts by PEG-mediated transfection and DNA microinjection

: Masani, M.Y.A.; Noll, G.A.; Parveez, G.K.A.; Sambanthamurthi, R.; Prüfer, D.

Postprint (PDF; )

PLoS one. Online journal 9 (2014), No.5, Art. e96831, 11 pp.
ISSN: 1932-6203
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IME ()

Background: Genetic engineering remains a major challenge in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) because particle bombardment and Agrobacterium-mediated transformation are laborious and/or inefficient in this species, often producing chimeric plants and escapes. Protoplasts are beneficial as a starting material for genetic engineering because they are totipotent, and chimeras are avoided by regenerating transgenic plants from single cells. Novel approaches for the transformation of oil palm protoplasts could therefore offer a new and efficient strategy for the development of transgenic oil palm plants.
Methodology/Principal Findings: We recently achieved the regeneration of healthy and fertile oil palms from protoplasts. Therefore, we focused on the development of a reliable PEG-mediated transformation protocol for oil palm protoplasts by establishing and validating optimal heat shock conditions, concentrations of DNA, PEG and magnesium chloride, and the transfection procedure. We also investigated the transformation of oil palm protoplasts by DNA microinjection and successfully regenerated transgenic microcalli expressing green fluorescent protein as a visible marker to determine the efficiency of transformation.
Conclusions/Significance: We have established the first successful protocols for the transformation of oil palm protoplasts by PEG-mediated transfection and DNA microinjection. These novel protocols allow the rapid and efficient generation of non-chimeric transgenic callus and represent a significant milestone in the use of protoplasts as a starting material for the development of genetically-engineered oil palm plants.