Utilization of PVX-Cre expression vector in potato
Trait genes are usually introduced into the plant genome together with a marker gene. The last one becomes unnecessary after transgene selection and characterization. One of the strategies to produce transgenic plants free from the selectable marker is based on site-specific recombination. The present study employed the transient Cre-lox system to remove the nptII marker gene from potato. Transient marker gene excision involves introduction of Cre protein in lox-target plants by PVX virus vector followed by plant regeneration. Using optimized experimental conditions, such as particle bombardment infection method and application of P19 silencing suppressor protein, 20–27% of regenerated plants were identified by PCR analysis as marker-free. Based on our comparison of the recombination frequencies observed in this study to the efficiency of other methods to avoid or eliminate marker genes in potato, we suggest that PVX-Cre mediated site-specific excisional recombination is a useful tool to generate potato plants without superfluous transgenic sequences.