RNA interference (RNAi) is a powerful reverse genetic tool to study gene function. The data presented here show that Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated RNAi is a fast and effective tool to study genes involved in root biology. The Arabidopsis gene KOJAK, involved in root hair development, was efficiently knocked down. A. rhizogenes-mediated root transformation is a fast method to generate adventitious, genetically transformed roots. In order to select for co-transformed roots a binary vector was developed that enables selection based on DsRED1 expression, with the additional benefit that chimaeric roots can be discriminated. The identification of chimaeric roots provided the opportunity to examine the extent of systemic spread of the silencing signal in the composite plants of both Arabidopsis and Medicago truncatula. It is shown that RNA silencing does not spread systemically to non-co-transformed (lateral) roots and only inefficiently to the non-transgenic shoot. Furthermore, evidence is presented which shows that RNAi is cell autonomous in the root epidermis
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