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Paula P. Chee and Jerry L. Slightom

Cotyledon explants of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Poinsett 76) seedlings were cocultivated with disarmed Agrobacterium strain C58Z707 that contained the binary vector plasmid pGA482GG/cpCMV19. The T-DNA region of this binary vector contains plant-expressible genes for neomycin phosphotransferase II (NPT II), β -glucuronidase (GUS), and the coat protein of cucumber mosaic virus strain C (CMV-C). After infection, the cotyledons were placed on Murashige and Skoog medium containing 100 mg kanamycidliter. Putative transformed embryogenic calli were obtained, followed by the development of mature embryos and their germination to plants. All transformed RO cucumber plants appeared morphologically normal and tested positive for NPT IL Southern blot analysis of selected cucumber DNAs indicated that NPT II, GUS, and CMV-C coat protein genes were integrated into the genomes. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot analysis indicated that the CMV-C coat protein is present in the protein extracts of progeny plants. These results show that the Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer system and regeneration via somatic embryogenesis is an effective method for producing transgenic plants in Cucurbitaceae.

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Paula Tennant, Manoel T. Souza Jr., Dennis Gonsalves, Maureen M. Fitch, Richard M. Manshardt, and Jerry L. Slightom

The disease resistance of a transgenic line expressing the coat protein (CP) gene of the mild strain of the papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) from Hawaii was further analyzed against PRSV isolates from Hawaii and other geographical regions. Line 63-1 originated from the same transformation experiment that resulted in line 55-1 from which the transgenic commercial cultivars, `Rainbow' and `SunUp', were derived. Plants of line 63-1 used in this study consisted of a population from a self pollinated R0 bisexual plant. ELISA and PCR tests provided evidence that there are at least two segregating CP loci. To allow for comparison with reactions of the previously reported line 55-1, virus isolates from Hawaii, Brazil, Thailand, and Jamaica were used to challenge seedlings of 63-1. Unlike line 55-1, a significant percentage of inoculated transgenic plants were susceptible to isolates from Hawaii. However, a proportion of plants were resistant to the non-Hawaiian isolates. In contrast, previous work showed that all plants of the hemizygous line 55-1 were susceptible to PRSV isolates from Brazil, Thailand, and Jamaica. Line 63-1, therefore, presents Hawaii with PRSV-resistant transgenic germplasm that could be used as a source of transgenes for resistance to PRSV isolates within and outside of Hawaii.

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Ralph Scorza, Laurene Levy, Vern Damsteegt, Luz Marcel Yepes, John Cordts, Ahmed Hadidi, Jerry Slightom, and Dennis Gonsalves

Transgenic plum plants expressing the papaya ringspot virus (PRV) coat protein (CP) were produced by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of hypocotyl slices. Hypocotyl slices were cocultivated with Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain C58/Z707 containing the plasmid pGA482GG/CPPRV-4. This plasmid carries the PRVCP gene construct and chimeric NPTII and GUS genes. Shoots were regenerated on Murashige and Skoog salts, vitamins, 2% sucrose, 2.5 μm indolebutyric acid, 7.5 μm thidiazuron, and appropriate antibiotics for selection. Integration of the foreign genes was verified through kanamycin resistance, GUS assays, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and Southern blot analyses. Four transgenic clones were identified. Three were vegetatively propagated and graft-inoculated with plum pox virus (PPV)-infected budwood in a quarantine, containment greenhouse. PPV infection was evaluated over a 2- to 4-year period through visual symptoms, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and reverse transcriptase PCR assays. While most plants showed signs of infection and systemic spread of PPV within l-6 months, one plant appeared to delay the spread of virus and the appearance of disease symptoms. Virus spread was limited to basal portions of this plant up to 19 months postinoculation, but, after 32 months symptoms were evident and virus was detected throughout the plant. Our results suggest that heterologous protection with PRVCP, while having the potential to delay PPV symptoms and spread throughout plum plants, may not provide an adequate level of long-term resistance.

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Carol Gonsalves, Baodi Xue, Marcela Yepes, Marc Fuchs, Kaishu Ling, Shigetou Namba, Paula Chee, Jerry L. Slightom, and Dennis Gonsalves

A single regeneration procedure using cotyledon explants effectively regenerated five commercially grown muskmelon cultivars. This regeneration scheme was used to facilitate gene transfers using either Agrobacterium tumefaciens (using `Burpee Hybrid' and `Hales Best Jumbo') or microprojectile bombardment (using `Topmark') methods. In both cases, the transferred genes were from the T-DNA region of the binary vector plasmid pGA482GG/cp cucumber mosaic virus-white leaf strain (CMV-WL), which contains genes that encode neomycin phosphotransferase II (NPT II), β-glucuronidase (GUS), and the CMV-WL coat protein (CP). Explants treated with pGA482GG/cpCMV-WL regenerated shoots on Murashige and Skoog medium containing 4.4 μm 6-benzylaminopurine (BA), kanamycin (Km) at 150 mg·liter-1 and carbenicillin (Cb) at 500 mg·liter-1. Our comparison of A. tumefaciens- and microprojectile-mediated gene transfer procedures shows that both methods effectively produce nearly the same percentage of transgenic plants. R0 plants were first tested for GUS or NPT II expression, then the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and other tests were used to verify the transfer of the NPT II, GUS, and CMV-WL CP genes. This analysis showed that plants transformed by A. tumefaciens contained all three genes, although co-transferring the genes into bombarded plants was not always successful. R1 plants were challenge inoculated with CMV-FNY, a destructive strain of CMV found in New York. Resistance levels varied according to the different transformed genotypes. Somaclonal variation was observed in a significant number of R0 transgenic plants. Flow cytometry analysis of leaf tissue revealed that a significant number of transgenic plants were tetraploid or mixoploid, whereas the commercial nontransformed cultivars were diploid. In a study of young, germinated cotyledons, however, a mixture of diploid, tetraploid, and octoploid cells were found at the shoot regeneration sites.