Food Safety
Online ISSN : 2187-8404
ISSN-L : 2187-8404
Original Article
Discontinuous Translocation of a Luciferase Protein beyond Graft Junction in Tobacco
Taira MiyaharaHitomi OhkuboYukiko UmeyamaTaichi OguchiTakumi OgawaDaisaku OhtaTomofumi MochizukiHiroaki Kodama
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Supplementary material

2024 Volume 12 Issue 1 Pages 1-16


Transgrafting, a grafting technique that uses both genetically modified (GM) and non-GM plants, is a novel plant breeding technology that can be used to improve the efficiency of crop cultivation without introducing foreign genes into the edible parts of non-GM plants. This technique can facilitate the acquisition of disease resistance and/or increased yield. However, the translocation of low-molecular-weight compounds, ribonucleic acid (RNA), and proteins through graft junctions raises a potential safety risk for food crops. Here, we used a transgenic tobacco plant expressing a firefly luciferase gene (LUC) to examine the translocation of the LUC protein beyond the graft junction in grafted plants. We observed the bi-directional translocation of LUC proteins in transgrafted tobacco plants, i.e., from the rootstock to scion and vice versa. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that transcripts of the LUC gene were undetectable in non-GM plant bodies, indicating that the LUC protein itself was translocated. Moreover, the movement of the LUC protein is an episodic (i.e., non-continuous) event, since non-GM samples showing high LUC activity were flanked by non-GM samples showing no apparent LUC activity. Translocation from the GM to non-GM part depends on the characteristics of GM plant bodies; here, the enhanced translocation of the LUC protein into the non-GM scion was observed when LUC-expressing rootstocks with hairy roots were used. Moreover, the quantity of translocated LUC protein was far below the level that is generally required to induce an allergenic response. Finally, since the LUC protein levels of plants used for transgrafting are moderate and the LUC protein itself is relatively unstable, further investigation is necessary regarding whether the newly expressed protein in GM plants is highly stable, easily translocated, and/or highly expressed.

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© 2024 Food Safety Commission, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan

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