Background: We describe novel plasmid vectors for transient gene expression using Agrobacterium, infiltrated into Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. We have generated a series of pGreenII cloning vectors that are ideally suited to transient gene expression, by removing elements of conventional binary vectors necessary for stable transformation such as transformation selection genes.
Results: We give an example of expression of heme-thiolate P450 to demonstrate effectiveness of this system. We have also designed vectors that take advantage of a dual luciferase assay system to analyse promoter sequences or post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. We have demonstrated their utility by co-expression of putative transcription factors and the promoter sequence of potential target genes and show how orthologous promoter sequences respond to these genes. Finally, we have constructed a vector that has allowed us to investigate design features of hairpin constructs related to their ability to initiate RNA silencing, and have used these tools to study cis-regulatory effect of intron-containing gene constructs.
Conclusion: In developing a series of vectors ideally suited to transient expression analysis we have provided a resource that further advances the application of this technology. These minimal vectors are ideally suited to conventional cloning methods and we have used them to demonstrate their flexibility to investigate enzyme activity, transcription regulation and post-transcriptional regulatory processes in transient assays.