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Building customizable auto-luminescent luciferase-based reporters in plants

  1. Arjun Khakhar
  2. Colby G Starker
  3. James C Chamness
  4. Nayoung Lee
  5. Sydney Stokke
  6. Cecily Wang
  7. Ryan Swanson
  8. Furva Rizvi
  9. Takato Imaizumi
  10. Daniel F Voytas  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Minnesota, United States
  2. University of Washington, United States
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e52786 doi: 10.7554/eLife.52786

Abstract

Bioluminescence is a powerful biological signal that scientists have repurposed as a reporter for gene expression in plants and animals. However, there are downsides associated with the need to provide a substrate to these reporters, including its high cost and non-uniform tissue penetration. In this work we reconstitute a fungal bioluminescence pathway (FBP) in planta using a composable toolbox of parts. We demonstrate that the FBP can create luminescence across various tissues in a broad range of plants without external substrate addition. We also show how our toolbox can be used to deploy the FBP in planta to build auto-luminescent reporters for the study of gene-expression and hormone fluxes. A low-cost imaging platform for gene expression profiling is also described. These experiments lay the groundwork for future construction of programmable auto-luminescent plant traits, such as light driven plant-pollinator interactions or light emitting plant-based sensors.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Arjun Khakhar

    Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Colby G Starker

    Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-6774-7227
  3. James C Chamness

    Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Nayoung Lee

    Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Sydney Stokke

    Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Cecily Wang

    Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Ryan Swanson

    Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Furva Rizvi

    Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  9. Takato Imaizumi

    Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  10. Daniel F Voytas

    Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, United States
    For correspondence
    voytas@umn.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-4944-1224

Funding

University of Minnesota (Grand Challenges Postdoctoral Fellowship)

  • Arjun Khakhar

National Institutes of Health (R01GM079712)

  • Nayoung Lee

Rural Development Administration (PJ013386)

  • Nayoung Lee

U.S. Department of Energy

  • Colby G Starker
  • James C Chamness

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Richard Amasino, University of Wisconsin Madison, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: October 16, 2019
  2. Accepted: March 24, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: March 25, 2020 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2020, Khakhar et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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