Transient expression of green fluorescent protein in parasitic dodder as a tool for studying of cytoskeleton

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Dodder (Cuscuta) species cause severe agricultural damage in many countries throughout the world. To establish strategies for control of its growth and spreading it is important to study its life cycle and survival strategies. For these efforts genetic modification would represent a powerful tool. Here we report on Agrobacteriummediated transformation of dodder using green fluorescent protein (GFP) fused to actin-binding protein as a vital marker. Since the shoot of germinating C. europaea contains a functional apical meristem and grows quickly comparing to the root-like structure, the shoot apex was used here as explant. The transgene expression was only transient, nevertheless it enabled to detect allocation of actin filaments and studying the cytoskeleton organization in dodder shoot apex. Transient expression of GFP appears to be a suitable method for studying Cuscuta development through cytoskeleton organisation that is presently largely unexplored.

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