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Article|19 Sep 2020|OPEN
A reporter for noninvasively monitoring gene expression and plant transformation
Yubing He1,2, Tao Zhang3,4, Hui Sun2, Huadong Zhan1 & Yunde Zhao3,
1State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
2National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement and National Center of Plant Gene Research (Wuhan), Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
3Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0116, USA
4Tata Institute for Genetics and Society-UCSD, La Jolla, CA 92093-0335, USA

Horticulture Research 7,
Article number: 152 (2020)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2020.152
Views: 697

Received: 06 May 2020
Revised: 18 Aug 2020
Accepted: 19 Aug 2020
Published online: 19 Sep 2020


Reporters have been widely used to visualize gene expression, protein localization, and other cellular activities, but the commonly used reporters require special equipment, expensive chemicals, or invasive treatments. Here, we construct a new reporter RUBY that converts tyrosine to vividly red betalain, which is clearly visible to naked eyes without the need of using special equipment or chemical treatments. We show that RUBY can be used to noninvasively monitor gene expression in plants. Furthermore, we show that RUBY is an effective selection marker for transformation events in both rice and Arabidopsis. The new reporter will be especially useful for monitoring cellular activities in large crop plants such as a fruit tree under field conditions and for observing transformation and gene expression in tissue culture under sterile conditions.