Enhanced Virulence Gene Activity of Agrobacterium in Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) cv. ‘Birdie’
Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) cultivar ‘Birdie’, was evaluated for its response to the tumorigenic Agrobacterium tumefaciens and the oncogenic A. rhizogenes strains. Stem and petiole of three week-old in vitro -grown muskmelon plants were inoculated with five strains of A. tumefaciens and A. rhizogenes each and observed phenotypic expressions i.e. induction of crown galls and hairy roots. This phenotypic expression was efficaciously increased when virulence gene activity of different strains of two Agrobacterium species was enhanced. Intensive studies on enhancement of virulence gene activity of Agrobacterium found to be correlated to the appropriate light intensity (39.3 μmol m -2 s -1 ) with a specific concentration of monocyclic phenolic compound, acetosyringone (20 μM). The gene activity was also influenced by several other physical factors e.g. plant tissue type, Agrobacterium species and their strains, and plant tissue- Agrobacterium interaction. Among the different A. tumefaciens strains, LBA4404 showed the best virulence gene activity in both stem and petiole through the formation of higher rate of crown galls. On the other hand, strain 15834 of A. rhizogenes showed better gene activity in stem and 8196 in petiole through the formation of higher rate of hairy roots as well as higher average number of hairy roots. Among the two different types of explants, petiole was more susceptible to both Agrobacterium species. Thus it was concluded that future muskmelon transformation study can efficiently be carried out with LBA4404, 15834 and 8196 strains using petiole explants by adding 20 μM of acetosyringone in the medium.
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