Shining a Light on the Expression of Heterologous Proteins in Hybrid Phalaenopsis and Petunia hybrida

by Jessi Knutson
Faculty advisor: Dr. James Hampton

The Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2008 was given to several scientists for their studies of the green fluorescent protein as a reporter system. This research has opened the doors to using GFP on both the molecular and organismal levels. The purpose of our research is to study gene expression in plants, utilizing fluorescence as a reporter gene system. We have been working with tissue culture and establishing the appropriate cell lines for Petunia hybida and a hybrid of two species of Phalaenopsis from Madagascar. A plasmid was obtained that contains a 35S plant promoter driving expression of CFP and YFP. We have been working with this plasmid trying to insert it into Petunia hybida and Phalaenopsis hybrid callus using a novel transformation system called the aerosol beam injector. These transgenic plants are predicted to fluoresce when bombarded with ultraviolet light and provide information about gene expression.