• DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs);
  • DNA ligase 4 (Lig4);
  • homologous recombination (HR);
  • Ku70 ;
  • Ku80 ;
  • nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ);
  • Oryza sativa (rice);
  • transferred DNA (T-DNA)


  • Evidence for the involvement of the nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway in Agrobacterium-mediated transferred DNA (T-DNA) integration into the genome of the model plant Arabidopsis remains inconclusive.

  • Having established a rapid and highly efficient Agrobacterium-mediated transformation system in rice (Oryza sativa) using scutellum-derived calli, we examined here the involvement of the NHEJ pathway in Agrobacterium-mediated stable transformation in rice. Rice calli from OsKu70, OsKu80 and OsLig4 knockdown (KD) plants were infected with Agrobacterium harboring a sensitive emerald luciferase (LUC) reporter construct to evaluate stable expression and a green fluorescent protein (GFP) construct to monitor transient expression of T-DNA.

  • Transient expression was not suppressed, but stable expression was reduced significantly, in KD plants. Furthermore, KD-Ku70 and KD-Lig4 calli exhibited an increase in the frequency of homologous recombination (HR) compared with control calli. In addition, suppression of OsKu70, OsKu80 and OsLig4 induced the expression of HR-related genes on treatment with DNA-damaging agents.

  • Our findings suggest strongly that NHEJ is involved in Agrobacterium-mediated stable transformation in rice, and that there is a competitive and complementary relationship between the NHEJ and HR pathways for DNA double-strand break repair in rice.