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Sharwood, RE, von Caemmerer S, Maliga P, Whitney SM.  2008.  The catalytic properties of hybrid Rubisco comprising tobacco small and sunflower large subunits mirror the kinetically equivalent source Rubiscos and can support tobacco growth. Plant Physiol.. 146:83-96. AbstractWebsite
Plastomic replacement of the tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) Rubisco large subunit gene (rbcL) with that from sunflower (Helianthus annuus; rbcL(S)) produced tobacco(Rst) transformants that produced a hybrid Rubisco consisting of sunflower large and tobacco small subunits (L(s)S(t)). The tobacco(Rst) plants required CO(2) (0.5% v/v) supplementation to grow autotrophically from seed despite the substrate saturated carboxylation rate, K(m), for CO(2) and CO(2)/O(2) selectivity of the L(s)S(t) enzyme mirroring the kinetically equivalent tobacco and sunflower Rubiscos. Consequently, at the onset of exponential growth when the source strength and leaf L(s)S(t) content were sufficient, tobacco(Rst) plants grew to maturity without CO(2) supplementation. When grown under a high pCO(2), the tobacco(Rst) seedlings grew slower than tobacco and exhibited unique growth phenotypes: Juvenile plants formed clusters of 10 to 20 structurally simple oblanceolate leaves, developed multiple apical meristems, and the mature leaves displayed marginal curling and dimpling. Depending on developmental stage, the L(s)S(t) content in tobacco(Rst) leaves was 4- to 7-fold less than tobacco, and gas exchange coupled with chlorophyll fluorescence showed that at 2 mbar pCO(2) and growth illumination CO(2) assimilation in mature tobacco(Rst) leaves remained limited by Rubisco activity and its rate (approximately 11 micromol m(-2) s(-1)) was half that of tobacco controls. (35)S-methionine labeling showed the stability of assembled L(s)S(t) was similar to tobacco Rubisco and measurements of light transient CO(2) assimilation rates showed L(s)S(t) was adequately regulated by tobacco Rubisco activase. We conclude limitations to tobacco(Rst) growth primarily stem from reduced rbcL(S) mRNA levels and the translation and/or assembly of sunflower large with the tobacco small subunits that restricted L(s)S(t) synthesis.
Gurdon, C, Svab Z, Feng Y, Kumar D, Maliga P.  2016.  Cell-to-cell movement of mitochondria in plants. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 113:3395-400. AbstractWebsite
We report cell-to-cell movement of mitochondria through a graft junction. Mitochondrial movement was discovered in an experiment designed to select for chloroplast transfer fromNicotiana sylvestrisintoNicotiana tabacumcells. The alloplasmicN. tabacumline we used carriesNicotiana undulatacytoplasmic genomes, and its flowers are male sterile due to the foreign mitochondrial genome. Thus, rare mitochondrial DNA transfer fromN. sylvestristoN. tabacumcould be recognized by restoration of fertile flower anatomy. Analyses of the mitochondrial genomes revealed extensive recombination, tentatively linking male sterility toorf293, a mitochondrial gene causing homeotic conversion of anthers into petals. Demonstrating cell-to-cell movement of mitochondria reconstructs the evolutionary process of horizontal mitochondrial DNA transfer and enables modification of the mitochondrial genome by DNA transmitted from a sexually incompatible species. Conversion of anthers into petals is a visual marker that can be useful for mitochondrial transformation.
Thyssen, G, Svab Z, Maliga P.  2012.  Cell-to-cell movement of plastids in plants. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. 109:2439-43. AbstractWebsite
Our objective was to test whether or not plastids and mitochondria, the two DNA-containing organelles, move between cells in plants. As our experimental approach, we grafted two different species of tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum and Nicotiana sylvestris. Grafting triggers formation of new cell-to-cell contacts, creating an opportunity to detect cell-to-cell organelle movement between the genetically distinct plants. We initiated tissue culture from sliced graft junctions and selected for clonal lines in which gentamycin resistance encoded in the N. tabacum nucleus was combined with spectinomycin resistance encoded in N. sylvestris plastids. Here, we present evidence for cell-to-cell movement of the entire 161-kb plastid genome in these plants, most likely in intact plastids. We also found that the related mitochondria were absent, suggesting independent movement of the two DNA-containing organelles. Acquisition of plastids from neighboring cells provides a mechanism by which cells may be repopulated with functioning organelles. Our finding supports the universality of intercellular organelle trafficking and may enable development of future biotechnological applications.
Maliga, P.  2014.  Chloroplast Biotechnology: Methods and Protocols. Methods in Molecular Biology. 1132Website
Cardi, T, Lenzi P, Maliga P.  2010.  Chloroplasts as expression platforms for plant-produced vaccines. Expert Rev. Vaccines. 9:893-911. AbstractWebsite
Production of recombinant subunit vaccines from genes incorporated in the plastid genome is advantageous because of the attainable expression level due to high transgene copy number and the absence of gene silencing; biocontainment as a consequence of maternal inheritance of plastids and no transgene presence in the pollen; and expression of multiple transgenes in prokaryotic-like operons. We discuss the core technology of plastid transformation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular alga, and Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco), a flowering plant species, and demonstrate the utility of the technology for the production of recombinant vaccine antigens.
Lutz, KA, Maliga P.  2007.  Construction of marker-free transplastomic plants. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 18:107-14. AbstractWebsite
Because of its prokaryotic-type gene expression machinery, maternal inheritance and the opportunity to express proteins at a high level, the plastid genome (plastome or ptDNA) is an increasingly popular target for engineering. The ptDNA is present as up to 10,000 copies per cell, making selection for marker genes essential to obtain plants with uniformly transformed ptDNA. However, the marker gene is no longer desirable when homoplastomic plants are obtained. Marker-free transplastomic plants can now be obtained with four recently developed protocols: homology-based excision via directly repeated sequences, excision by phage site-specific recombinanses, transient cointegration of the marker gene, and the cotransformation-segregation approach. Marker excision technology will benefit applications in agriculture and in molecular farming.