Plant Science Innovation, Center for


Date of this Version



In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Plant


Open access.


A reliable and simple Agrobacterium-mediated transformation system for the unicellular green algae model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has been developed. The protocol has been successfully employed with both neomycin phosphotransferase II (nptII) and the phleomycin resistance (bleI) genes coupled with the selective agents paromomycin and zeocin, respectively. A set of binary vectors were assembled that carry the selectable marker cassettes under control either of the Rbcs2 alone or fused to the HSP270A leader sequence, PsaD, or ß-tubulin2 promoters. The corresponding T-DNA elements also harbored a cassette with a codon-optimized version of yellow fluorescence protein (YFP) under control of the Rbcs2 promoter in which the YFP open reading frame was interrupted with the first intron of Rbcs2 to prevent expression in Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The resultant binary vectors were introduced into A. tumefaciens strain C58C1/pMP90, and the derived transconjugants were used for transformation studies with the walled C. reinhardtii strain CC124. Estimated transformation frequencies ranged from 0.09 to 2.86 colonies per 106 cells inoculated. Molecular characterizations on a subset of the transgenic lineages revealed that most of the transgenic events harbored single locus insertions. Moreover, sequencing of captured junction fragments about the T-DNA insertion site showed that minimal disruption of the C. reinhardtii genome occurred. However, the transgenic lineages often harbored truncated T-DNA regions within the non-selectable marker gene cassettes.