Expression of bgt gene in transgenic birch (Betula platyphylla Suk.)
Study on the characteristics of integration and expression is the basis of genetic stability of foreign genes in transgenic trees. To obtain insight into the relationship of transgene copy number and expression level, we screened 22 transgenic birch lines. Southern blot analysis of the transgenic birch plants indicated that the copy number of bgt varies from one to four, of which 18.2% were single copy. Copy number of bgt and gus was different in 68% of transgenic birch plants, indicating that rearrangement or partial deletion appeared in the process of T-DNA integration. Transcriptional expression of bgt gene in transgenic birch plants was analyzed by Northern blot. TGS has been found in two transgenic lines with one and four copies of bgt. The ELISA result showed that the BGT protein expression level in the transgenic birch plants ranged from 0.000 to 0.283% of total soluble protein. In contrary to most studies, this research showed no significant correlation was found between copy number and expression level of bgt gene. Effective resistance of transgenic plants against Lymantria dispar was verified in feeding bioassays with the insects. Bioassays results were mostly consistent with the expression level of BGT insecticidal protein detected by ELISA and Western blot in transgenic birch. The paper showed transgenic birch had the high lethal effect on gypsy moth larvae (L. dispar). The practicality of this work will benefit not only the birch producers, but also the environment worldwide.