Research abstract

Article abstract

Nature Biotechnology 23, 718 - 723 (2005)
Published online: 8 May 2005 | doi:10.1038/nbt1094

Systemic Agrobacterium tumefaciens–mediated transfection of viral replicons for efficient transient expression in plants

Sylvestre Marillonnet1,2, Carola Thoeringer1,2, Romy Kandzia1, Victor Klimyuk1 & Yuri Gleba1

Plant biotechnology relies on two approaches for delivery and expression of heterologous genes in plants: stable genetic transformation and transient expression using viral vectors. Although much faster, the transient route is limited by low infectivity of viral vectors carrying average-sized or large genes. We have developed constructs for the efficient delivery of RNA viral vectors as DNA precursors and show here that Agrobacterium–mediated delivery of these constructs results in gene amplification in all mature leaves of a plant simultaneously (systemic transfection). This process, called 'magnifection', can be performed on a large scale and with different plant species. This technology combines advantages of three biological systems (the transfection efficiency of A. tumefaciens, the high expression yield obtained with viral vectors, and the post-translational capabilities of a plant), does not require genetic modification of plants and is faster than other existing methods.

  1. Icon Genetics, Biozentrum Halle, Weinbergweg 22, D-06120 Halle (Saale), Germany.
  2. These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence to: Yuri Gleba1 e-mail:


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Nature Biotechnology News and Views (01 Oct 2006)