Author(s): Giri A, Narasu ML
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Abstract Agrobacterium rhizogenes causes hairy root disease in plants. The neoplastic roots produced by A. rhizogenes infection is characterized by high growth rate and genetic stability. These genetically transformed root cultures can produce higher levels of secondary metabolites or amounts comparable to that of intact plants. Hairy root cultures offer promise for production of valuable secondary metabolites in many plants. The main constraint for commercial exploitation of hairy root cultures is their scaling up, as there is a need for developing a specially designed bioreactor that permits the growth of interconnected tissues unevenly distributed throughout the vessel. Rheological characteristics of heterogeneous system should also be taken into consideration during mass scale culturing of hairy roots. Development of bioreactor models for hairy root cultures is still a recent phenomenon. It is also necessary to develop computer-aided models for different parameters such as oxygen consumption and excretion of product to the medium. Further, transformed roots are able to regenerate genetically stable plants as transgenics or clones. This property of rapid growth and high plantlet regeneration frequency allows clonal propagation of elite plants. In addition, the altered phenotype of hairy root regenerants (hairy root syndrome) is useful in plant breeding programs with plants of ornamental interest. In vitro transformation and regeneration from hairy roots facilitates application of biotechnology to tree species. The ability to manipulate trees at a cellular and molecular level shows great potential for clonal propagation and genetic improvement. Transgenic root system offers tremendous potential for introducing additional genes along with the Ri T-DNA genes for alteration of metabolic pathways and production of useful metabolites or compounds of interest. This article discusses various applications and perspectives of hairy root cultures and the recent progress achieved with respect to transformation of plants using A. rhizogenes.
This article was published in Biotechnol Adv
and referenced in Current Synthetic and Systems Biology