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Protoplast isolation and plant regeneration in Bambara groundnut : a platform for transient gene expression
Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea), a dicotyledonous plant is a legume which has a potential to contribute to food security and nutrition. Protoplasts are naked plant cells lacking cell walls. Viable protoplasts are potentially totipotent. Therefore, when given the correct stimuli, each protoplast is capable, theoretically, of regenerating a new wall and undergoing repeated mitotic division to produce daughter cells from which fertile plants may be regenerated through the tissue culture process. Protoplast systems are valuable and versatile cell based systems that are useful in observing cellular processes and activities. In this study, the isolation of protoplast from the leaves of Bambara groundnut plant was extensively optimised. The factors affecting protoplast isolation considered in this study were ages of plant material, mannitol concentration, combinations and concentrations of enzymes and duration of incubation. Effects of ages of Bambara groundnut plant (4, 6, 8, 10 weeks), molarities of mannitol (0.4 M, 0.5 M. 0.6 M and 0.7 M), concentration and combination of enzymes (1%, 2% and 4% cellulase, 0.5% and 1% macerozyme and, 0.5% and 1% pectinase) at different incubation duration (4, 18, 24, 42 hours) were investigated. Overall, it can be deduced from this study that the optimal protoplast yield (4.6 ± 0.14×105ml-1/gFW) and viability (86.5 ± 2.12%) were achieved by digesting the leaves of four week old Bambara groundnut plant with 2% cellulase and 0.5 % macerozyme with 0.5M mannitol for 18 hours. Freshly isolated protoplasts were then cultured at different densities of 1 × 104 - 2 ×106 protoplasts/ml using MS in three different culture (Liquid, agar and agarose bead) methods. First cell division was observed only in liquid medium. With several attempts, no division was achieved in the agar and agarose bead methods, division also did not progress in the liquid medium and hence, plant regeneration from Bambara groundnut protoplasts could not be achieved in this study. Consequently, a further study is underway to compare the proteomic profiles of freshly isolated protoplasts and cultured protoplasts in order to gain insights into the expression of proteins that could perhaps be contributing to the difficulty in regenerating Bambara groundnut plant through protoplast technology. The present study is novel because it is the first study to optimise the various factors that could affect protoplast isolation from the leaves of Bambara groundnut and thus developed an efficient protocol for protoplasts isolation from leaves of Bambara groundnut for cell manipulation studies.
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