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Record ID
Date of creation
2012-05-09 15:33 UTC (dina.abdelhakim@cbd.int)
Date of last update
2012-05-25 18:51 UTC (manoela.miranda@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2012-06-01 19:21 UTC (dina.abdelhakim@cbd.int)

General Information
Transcriptome analysis reveals absence of unintended effects in drought-tolerant transgenic plants overexpressing the transcription factor ABF3
Ashraf Abdeen, Jaimie Schnell, Brian Miki
Author’s contact information
Jaimie Schnell
Email: Jaimie.Schnell@inspection.gc.ca

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,
960 Carling Ave.,
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0C6
  • English
Publication date
Summary, abstract or table of contents

Background: Plants engineered for abiotic stress tolerance may soon be commercialized. The engineering of these plants typically involves the manipulation of complex multigene networks and may therefore have a greater potential to introduce pleiotropic effects than the simple monogenic traits that currently dominate the plant biotechnology market. While research on unintended effects in transgenic plant systems has been instrumental in demonstrating the substantial equivalence of many transgenic plant systems, it is essential that such analyses be extended to transgenic plants engineered for stress tolerance. Drought tolerant Arabidopsis thaliana were engineered through overexpression of the transcription factor ABF3 in order to investigate unintended pleiotropic effects. In order to eliminate position effects, the Cre/lox recombination system was used to create control plant lines that contain identical T-DNA insertion sites but with the ABF3 transgene excised. This additionally allowed us to determine if Cre recombinase can cause unintended effects that impact the transcriptome.

Results: Microarray analysis of control plant lines that underwent Cre-mediated excision of the ABF3 transgene revealed only two genes that were differentially expressed in more than one plant line, suggesting that the impact of Cre recombinase on the transcriptome was minimal. In the absence of drought stress, overexpression of ABF3 had no effect on the transcriptome, but following drought stress, differences were observed in the gene expression patterns of plants overexpressing ABF3 relative to control plants. Examination of the functional distribution of the differentially expressed genes revealed strong similarity indicating that unintended pathways were not activated.

Conclusions: The action of ABF3 is tightly controlled in Arabidopsis. In the absence of drought stress, ectopic activation of drought response pathways does not occur. In response to drought stress, overexpression of ABF3 results in a reprogramming of the drought response, which is characterized by changes in the timing or strength of expression of some drought response genes, without activating any unexpected gene networks. These results illustrate that important gene networks are highly regulated in Arabidopsis and that engineering stress tolerance may not necessarily cause extensive changes to the transcriptome.
Thematic areas
  • Scientific and technical issues
    • Risk assessment
Background material to the “Guidance on risk assessment of living modified organisms”
Is this document is recommend as background material for the “Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms”
Section(s) of the “Guidance on Risk Assessment of Living Modified Organisms” this background material is relevant
  • 3. Risk assessment of living modified plants with tolerance to abiotic stress
Additional Information
Type of resource
  • Article (journal / magazine / newspaper)
Publisher and its location
Biomed Central (BMC)
© 2010 Abdeen et al
21 page PDF
BMC Genomics
Keywords and any other relevant information
Citation: Abdeen et al. BMC Genomics 2010, 11:69