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John L. Norelli and Herb S. Aldwinckle

Regeneration from apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) M.26 leaf tissue was completely inhibited by (μg·ml-1) 1 geneticin, 5 kanamycin, 10 to 25 paromomycin, and 100 neomycin. nptII-transgenic M.26 had an increased tolerance to all four of the antibiotics tested, with inhibition of regeneration occurring at (μg·ml-l) 2.5 geneticin, 100 kanamycin, 375 paromomycin, and 375 neomycin. Paromomycin (100 to 250 μg·ml-l) and neomycin (250 μg·ml-1) significantly increased the amount of regeneration from nptII-transgenic M.26 apple leaf tissue. p35SGUS-INT, a plasmid with a chimeric b -glucuronidase gene containing a plant intron, was useful for studying the early events of apple transformation by eliminating GUS expression from Agrobacterium tumefaciens. It was used to determine that the optimal aminoglycoside concentrations for the selection of nptII-transgenic M.26 cells were (μg·ml-1) 2.5 to 16 kanamycin, 63 to 100 neomycin, and 25 to 63 paromomycin. Geneticin was unsuitable as a selective agent.

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Jyothi Prakash Bolar, John L. Norelli, Herb S. Aldwinckle, and Viola Hanke

To root tissue-cultured apple cultivars, shoots from proliferating cultures were first transferred to root induction medium with IBA for 1 week in the dark. Shoots were later transferred to the same medium without IBA and incubated under light for elongation of the roots. Rooted shoots were then transferred to Jiffy-7s supplemented with biological plant protectant and fertilizer, and incubated in plastic humidity trays. After 2 to 3 weeks, plants were transferred to pots and covered with plastic bags to facilitate acclimation. This technique has resulted in 70% to 100% of shoots selected in vitro producing vigorously growing, healthy plants in the greenhouse. Chemical name used: indolebutyric acid (IBA).

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Jyothi Prakash Bolar, Susan K. Brown, John L. Norelli, and Herb S. Aldwinckle

The overall goal of our research is to develop an efficient transformation and regeneration system for `McIntosh' apple. The first objective was to determine the optimum combination of Gelrite (G) and agar (A) to maximize regeneration and minimize vitrification. Treatments included the following combinations of agar (in gliter–1) and Gelrite (in gliter–1): 1) 7 and 0; 2) 5.25 and 0.625; 3) 3.5 and 1.875; 4) 1.75 and 1.875; and 5) 0 and 2.5. There were 10 replications, and a single petri plate containing six leaf pieces was the unit of replication. Both 5.25(A) and 0.62(G) and 3.5(A) and 1.25(G) provided high regeneration of healthy, nonvitrified shoots. Since modification of media affects the concentration of antibiotics used in selection due to precipitation of antibiotics, the second objective was to determine the optimal concentration of antibiotic for the selection and regeneration of transformed `McIntosh' on gelrite–agar-based media. Kanamycin was tested at 0, 10, 25, 50, 75, and 100 μgml–1 and paromomycin was tested at 0, 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 μgml–1. Antibiotic selection will be discussed relative to optimum concentration and efficiency of selection.

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Kisung Ko, Susan K. Brown, John L. Norelli, and Herb S. Aldwinckle

Seven nptII and gus transgenic lines of the apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) rootstock Malling 7 (M.7) were examined by glucuronidase (GUS) histochemical testing and a double-antibody sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). These lines had different amounts of neomycin phosphotransferase II (NPTII). The amounts of NPTII among lines was positively correlated with the ability of the transgenic lines to regenerate in the presence of kanamycin, paromomycin, or geneticin. Regenerants derived from transgenic lines also varied greatly in GUS expression. The apical portion of regenerant stem tissues had stronger GUS staining than the basal portion of stem. All regenerated tissue of T1, a transgenic line originally classified as a uniform GUS staining line, showed non-GUS staining, while the regenerated tissues of chimeric transgenic lines showed nonstaining, chimeric staining, or uniform GUS staining, indicating the potential to select uniform GUS staining lines from chimeras. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) indicated the gus gene was present in GUS negative (nonstaining) lines. Negative PCR results with primers derived from vir G of Agrobacterium tumefaciens, and failure to isolate A. tumefaciens from M.7 transgenics indicated that PCR and GUS staining results were not due to A. tumefaciens. A modified PCR methylation assay (MPMA) indicated that methylation of cytosines of the CCGG site in the gus gene, and in the border between the CaMV35S promoter and the gus gene, was positively correlated with complete gus gene silencing (nonstaining lines). However, the MPMA indicated that methylation was not always associated with variable GUS expression, suggesting that chimeric staining could be due to a mixture of transformed and nontransformed cells in some transgenic lines.

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Kisung Ko, John L. Norelli, Jean-Paul Reynoird, Herb S. Aldwinckle, and Susan K. Brown

Genes encoding lysozyme (T4L) from T4 bacteriophage and attacin E (attE) from Hyalophora cecropia were used, either singly or in combination, to construct plant binary vectors, pLDB15, p35SAMVT4, and pPin2Att35SAMVT4, respectively, for Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of `Galaxy' apple, to enhance resistance to Erwinia amylovora. In these plasmids, the T4L gene was controlled by the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter with duplicated upstream domain and the untranslated leader sequence of alfalfa mosaic virus RNA 4, and the attE gene was controlled by the potato proteinase inhibitor II (Pin2) promoter. All transgenic lines were screened by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for T4L and attE genes, and a double-antibody sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for neomycin phosphotransferase II. Amplification of T4L and attE genes was observed in reverse transcriptase-PCR, indicating that these genes were transcribed in all tested transgenic lines containing each gene. The attacin protein was detected in all attE transgenic lines. The expression of attE under the Pin2 promoter was constitutive but higher levels of expression were observed after mechanical wounding. Some T4L or attE transgenic lines had significant disease reduction compared to nontransgenic `Galaxy'. However, transgenic lines containing both attE and T4L genes were not significantly more resistant than nontransgenic `Galaxy', indicating that there was no in planta synergy between attE and T4L with respect to resistance to E. amylovora.

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Carole L. Bassett, Michael E. Wisniewski, Timothy S. Artlip, John L. Norelli, Jenny Renaut, and Robert E. Farrell Jr.

In response to environmental cues plants undergo changes in gene expression that result in the up- or down-regulation of specific genes. To identify genes in peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.] trees whose transcript levels are specifically affected by low temperature (LT) or short day photoperiod (SD), we have created suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) libraries from bark tissues sampled from trees kept at 5 °C and 25 °C under short day (SD) photoperiod or exposed to a night break (NB) interruption during the dark period of the SD cycle to simulate a long day (LD) photoperiod. Sequences expressed in forward and reverse subtractions using various subtracted combinations of temperature and photoperiod treatments were cloned, sequenced, and identified by BLAST and ClustalW analysis. Low temperature treatment resulted in the up-regulation of a number of cold-responsive and stress-related genes and suppression of genes involved in “housekeeping” functions (e.g., cell division and photosynthesis). Some stress-related genes not observed to be up-regulated under LT were increased in response to SD photoperiod treatments. Comparison of the patterns of expression as a consequence of different temperature and photoperiod treatments allowed us to determine the qualitative contribution of each treatment to the regulation of specific genes.

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William C. Johnson, Phil L. Forsline, Herb S. Aldwinckle, William C. Johnson, Phil L. Forsline, H. Todd Holleran, Terence L. Robinson, and John J. Norelli

In 1998, the USDA-ARS and Cornell Univ. instituted a cooperative agreement that mobilized the resources for a jointly managed apple rootstock breeding and evaluation program. The program is a successor to the Cornell rootstock breeding program, formerly managed by Emeritus Professor of Horticultural Sciences James N. Cummins. The agreement broadens the scope of the program from a focus on regional concerns to address the constraints of all the U.S. apple production areas. In the future, the breeding program will continue to develop precocious and productive disease-resistant rootstock varieties with a range of vigor from fully dwarfing to near standard size, but there will be a renewed emphasis on nursery propagability, lodging resistance, tolerance to extreme temperatures, resistance to the soil pathogens of the sub-temperate regions of the U.S., and tolerance to apple replant disorder. The program draws on the expertise available at the Geneva campus through cooperation with plant pathologists, horticulturists, geneticists, biotechnologists, and the curator of the national apple germplasm repository. More than 1000 genotypes of apple rootstocks are currently under evaluation, and four fire blight- (Erwinia amylovora) resistant cultivars have been recently released from the program. As a service to U.S. apple producers, rootstock cultivars from other breeding programs will also be evaluated for productivity, size control, and tolerance to a range of biotic and abiotic stress events. The project will serve as an information source on all commercially available apple rootstock genotypes for nurseries and growers.