Evaluation of Parameters Affecting Agrobacterium-Mediated Transient Gene Expression in Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.)

Tasnim Mohammad, Rishikesh Ghogare, Lauren B. Morton, Amit Dhingra, Shobha Potlakayala, Sairam Rudrabhatla, Sarwan K. Dhir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Industrial hemp Cannabis sativa L. is an economically important crop mostly grown for its fiber, oil, and seeds. Due to its increasing applications in the pharmaceutical industry and a lack of knowledge of gene functions in cannabinoid biosynthesis pathways, developing an efficient transformation platform for the genetic engineering of industrial hemp has become necessary to enable functional genomic and industrial application studies. A critical step in the development of Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation in the hemp genus is the establishment of optimal conditions for T-DNA gene delivery into different explants from which whole plantlets can be regenerated. As a first step in the development of a successful Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation method for hemp gene editing, the factors influencing the successful T-DNA integration and expression (as measured by transient β-glucuronidase (GUS) and Green Florescent Protein (GFP) expression) were investigated. In this study, the parameters for an agroinfiltration system in hemp, which applies to the stable transformation method, were optimized. In the present study, we tested different explants, such as 1- to 3-week-old leaves, cotyledons, hypocotyls, root segments, nodal parts, and 2- to 3-week-old leaf-derived calli. We observed that the 3-week-old leaves were the best explant for transient gene expression. Fully expanded 2- to 3-week-old leaf explants, in combination with 30 min of immersion time, 60 µM silver nitrate, 0.5 µM calcium chloride, 150 µM natural phenolic compound acetosyringone, and a bacterial density of OD600nm = 0.4 resulted in the highest GUS and GFP expression. The improved method of genetic transformation established in the present study will be useful for the introduction of foreign genes of interest, using the latest technologies such as genome editing, and studying gene functions that regulate secondary metabolites in hemp.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number664
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science

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