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Technology Commercialization Office

A New Agrobacterium Strain for Plant Transformation

Technology #15270

A new Agrobacterium strain was recovered from soybean field soil that has shown a 10 to 100-fold increase in plant transformation rates, particularly for soybean

The Need

Agrobacterium is a Gram-negative, plant pathogenic soil bacterium that has the unique capacity to transfer some of its DNA to specific cells in the plant host. Over the past 35 years, this bacterium has played a central role in basic scientific research and applied agricultural biotechnology in the production of transgenic plants. While there are many different bacterial strains of Agrobacterium that exist in nature, only a few different strains are widely used in most laboratories and no strains have been isolated, selected and disarmed based on their presence in the field soil where a specific crop has been grown. Although efficiencies of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation have improved tremendously over the past 30 years, further improvements are still needed. Transformation of soybean using Agrobacterium remains challenging and is best described as consistent but inefficient. A new soybean-derived Agrobacterium strain may lead to efficiencies that have never before been achievable, using known strains that were previously isolated from cherry or cucumber. There remains a significant need for improved or novel strains of Agrobacterium capable of effectively and efficiently transforming soybean.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University led by Dr. John Finer have discovered “JTND”, a novel Agrobacterium strain isolated from the soil in a soybean field that possesses enhanced transformation attributes for soybean. Most laboratories consistently use only a select few number of Agrobacterium strains for transformation of most plants including soybean, and the most common strain used is EHA105, which was found associated with a cherry tree in New York. However, the newly isolated strain JTND was found in a soybean field in North Dakota and gives a 10-100-fold improvement in soybean transformation over EHA105. Transformation efficiency was determined by directly counting the numbers of transformed plant cells using the GFP reporter gene in different strains. The JTND strain and the disarmed SBHT strain derived from JTND could be extremely useful to all laboratories that undertake soybean transformation studies. This remarkable 10-100-fold increase would save both time and effort in the production and evaluation of transgenic crops.

Commercial Applications

  • Agriculture biotechnology
  • Plant Transgenics

Benefits/ Advantages

  • Increased efficiency
  • A 10-100-fold improvement in soybean transformation over EHA105