pGVG: a new Gateway-compatible vector for transformation of sugarcane and other monocot crops

Abstract The successful development of genetically engineered monocots using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation has created an increasing demand for compatible vectors. We have developed a new expression vector, pGVG, for efficient transformation and expression of different constructs for gene overexpression and silencing in sugarcane. The pCAMBIA2300 binary vector was modified by adding Gateway recombination sites for fast gene transfer between vectors and the maize polyubiquitin promoter Ubi-1 (ZmUbi1), which is known to drive high gene expression levels in monocots. Transformation efficiency using the pGVG vector reached up to 14 transgenic events per gram of transformed callus. Transgenic plants expressing the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene from pGVG showed high levels of GUS activity. qRT-PCR evaluations demonstrated success for both overexpression and hairpin-based silencing cassettes. Therefore, pGVG is suitable for plant transformation and subsequent applications for high-throughput production of stable transgenic sugarcane. The use of an expression cassette based on the ZmUbi1 promoter opens the possibility of using pGVG in other monocot species.