Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Biotechnology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

The Bxb1 recombination system demonstrates heritable transmission of site-specific excision in Arabidopsis

James G Thomson1*, Ronald Chan1, Jamison Smith1, Roger Thilmony1, Yuan-Yeu Yau2, YueJu Wang2 and David W Ow2

Author Affiliations

1 Crop Improvement and Utilization Research Unit, Western Regional Research Center, USDA-ARS, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, CA 94710, USA

2 Plant Gene Expression Center and UC Berkeley, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, CA 94710, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Biotechnology 2012, 12:9  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-12-9

Published: 21 March 2012

Abstract

Background

The mycobacteriophage large serine recombinase Bxb1 catalyzes site-specific recombination between its corresponding attP and attB recognition sites. Previously, we and others have shown that Bxb1 has catalytic activity in various eukaryotic species including Nicotiana tabacum, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, insects and mammalian cells.

Results

In this work, the Bxb1 recombinase gene was transformed and constitutively expressed in Arabidopsis thaliana plants harboring a chromosomally integrated attP and attB-flanked target sequence. The Bxb1 recombinase successfully excised the target sequence in a conservative manner and the resulting recombination event was heritably transmitted to subsequent generations in the absence of the recombinase transgene. In addition, we also show that Bxb1 recombinase expressing plants can be manually crossed with att-flanked target transgenic plants to generate excised progeny.

Conclusion

The Bxb1 large serine recombinase performs site-specific recombination in Arabidopsis thaliana germinal tissue, producing stable lines free of unwanted DNA. The precise site-specific deletion produced by Bxb1 in planta demonstrates that this enzyme can be a useful tool for the genetic engineering of plants without selectable marker transgenes or other undesirable exogenous sequences.