Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Transformation of Brassica napus canola cultivars with Arabidopsis thaliana acetohydroxyacid synthase genes and analysis of herbicide resistance


A survey of selected crop species and weeds was conducted to evaluate the inhibition of the enzyme acetohydroxyacid synthase (AHAS) and seedling growth in vitro by the sulfonylurea herbicides chlorsulfuron, DPX A7881, DPX L5300, DPX M6316 and the imidazolinone herbicides AC243,997, AC263,499, AC252,214. Particular attention was given to the Brassica species including canola cultivars and cruciferous weeds such as B. kaber (wild mustard) and Thlaspi arvense (stinkweed). Transgenic lines of B. napus cultivars Westar and Profit, which express the Arabidopsis thaliana wild-type AHAS gene or the mutant gene csr1-1 at levels similar to the resident AHAS genes, were generated and compared. The mutant gene was essential for resistance to the sulfonylurea chlorsulfuron but not to DPX A7881, which appeared to be tolerated by certain Brassica species. Cross-resistance to the imidazolinones did not occur. The level of resistance to chlorsulfuron in transgenic canola greatly exceeded the levels that were toxic to the Brassica species or cruciferous weeds. Direct selection of transgenic lines with chlorsulfuron sprayed at field levels under greenhouse conditions was achieved.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Beyer EM, Brown HM, Duffy MJ (1987) Sulfonylurea herbicide soil relations. In: 1987 British crop protection weeds. BCPC Publications, Surrey/UK 2:531–540

  2. Blair AM, Martin TD (1988) A review of the activity, fate, and mode of action of Sulfonylurea herbicides. Pestic Sci 22:195–219

  3. Chaleff RS, Mauvais CJ (1984) Acetolactate synthase is the site of action of two Sulfonylurea herbicides in higher plants. Science 224:1443–1445

  4. Chaleff RS, Ray TB (1984) Herbicide-resistant mutants from tobacco cell cultures. Science 223:1148–1151

  5. Chandler JM, Hamill AS, Thomas AG (1984) Crop losses due to weeds in Canada and in the United States. Weed Science Society of America, Champagne/IL

  6. Charest PJ, Holbrook LA, Gabard J, Iyer VN, Miki BL (1988) Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of thin cell layer explants from Brassica napus L. Theor Appl Genet 75:438–445

  7. Charest PJ, Iyer VN, Miki BL (1989) Virulence of Agrobacterium tumefaciens strains with Brassica napus and Brassica juncea. Plant Cell Rep 8:303–306

  8. Charest PJ, Hattori J, DeMoor J, Iyer VN, Miki BL (1990) In vitro study of transgenic tobacco expressing Arabidopsis wild-type and mutant acetohydroxyacid synthase genes. Plant Cell Rep 8:643–646

  9. De Block M, De Brower D, Tenning P (1989) Transformation of Brassica napus and Brassica oleracea using Agrobacterium tumefaciens and the expression of the bar and neo genes in the transgenic plants. Plant Physiol 91:694–701

  10. Ferguson DT, Schehl SE, Hageman LH, LePone GE, Carraro GA (1985) DPX L5300, a new cereal herbicide. In: 1985 British crop protection weeds. BCPC Publications, Surrey/UK 1:43–48

  11. Fry J, Barnason A, Horsch RB (1987) Transformation of Brassica napus with Agrobacterium tumefaciens based vectors. Plant Cell Rep 6:321–325

  12. Gabard JM, Charest PJ, Iyer VN, Miki BL (1989) Cross-resistance to short residual sulfonylurea herbicides in transgenic tobacco plants. Plant Physiol 91:574–580

  13. Gamborg OL, Miller RA, Ojima K (1968) Nutrient requirements of suspension cultures of soybean root cells. Exp Cell Res 50:151–158

  14. Haughn GW, Somerville C (1986) Sulfonylurea-resistant mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana. Mol Gen Genet 204:430–434

  15. Haughn GW, Smith J, Mazur B, Somerville C (1988) Transformation with a mutant Arabidopsis acetolactate synthase gene renders tobacco resistant to sulfonylurea herbicides. Mol Gen Genet 211:266–271

  16. Hutchison JM, Shapiro R, Sweetser PB (1984) Metabolism of chlorsulfuron by tolerant broad leaves. Pestic Biochem Physiol 22:243–247

  17. Hutchison JM, Peter CJ, Amuti KS, Hageman LH, Roy GA, Stichbury R (1987) DPX A7881, a new herbicide for oilseed rape. In: 1987 British crop protection conference weeds, BCPC Publications, Surrey/UK 1:63–67

  18. LaRossa RA, Schloss JV (1984) The sulfonylurea herbicide sulfometuron methyl is an extremely potent and selective inhibitor of acetolactate synthase in Salmonella typhimurium. J Biol Chem 259:8753–8757

  19. Moloney MM, Walker JM, Sharma KK (1989) High efficiency transformation of Brassica napus using Agrobacterium vectors. Plant Cell Rep 8:238–242

  20. Murashige T, Skoog F (1962) A revised medium for rapid growth and bioassays with tobacco tissue cultures. Physiol Plant 15:473–497

  21. Ouellet T, Lampron C, Lussier M, Lapointe L, Royal A (1990) Differential regulation of the keratin 8 and 18 messenger RNAs in differentiating F9 cells. Biochem Biophys Acta 1048:194–201

  22. Ray TB (1986) Sulfonylurea herbicides as inhibitors of amino acid biosynthesis in plants. TIBS April 1986, pp180–183

  23. Saunders PR, Winter JA, Barnason AR, Rogers SG, Fraley RT (1987) Comparison of cauliflower mosaic virus 35S and nopaline synthase promoters in transgenic plants. Nucleic Acids Res 15:1543–1558

  24. Saxena PK, King J (1988) Herbicide resistance in Datura innoxia. Plant Physiol 86:863–867

  25. Shaner DL, Anderson PC, Stidham MA (1984) Imidazolinones. Potent inhibitors of acetohydroxyacid synthase. Plant Physiol 76:545–546

  26. Sionis SD, Drobny HG, Lefebvre P, Upstone ME (1985) DPX M6316, a new sulfonylurea cereal herbicide. In: 1985 British crop protection weeds. BCPC Publications, Surrey/UK 1:49–54

  27. Swanson EB, Coumans MP, Brown GL, Patel JD, Beversdorf WD (1988) The characterization of herbicide-tolerant plants in Brassica napus L. after in vitro selection of microspores and protoplasts. Plant Cell Rep 7:83–87

  28. Swanson EB, Herrgesell MJ, Arnoldo M, Sippell DW, Wong RSC (1989) Microspore mutagenesis and selection: canola plants with field tolerance to the imidazolinones. Theor Appl Genet 78:525–530

  29. Swanton CJ, Chandler K (1989) Control of wild mustard in canola with postemergence herbicides. Can J Plant Sci 69:889–896

  30. Sweetser PB, Schow GS, Hutchison JM (1982) Metabolism of chlorsulfuron by plants. Biological basis for selectivity of a new herbicide for cereals. Pestic Biochem Physiol 17:18–23

Download references

Author information

Additional information

Communicated by G. Wenzel

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Miki, B.L., Labbé, H., Hattori, J. et al. Transformation of Brassica napus canola cultivars with Arabidopsis thaliana acetohydroxyacid synthase genes and analysis of herbicide resistance. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 80, 449–458 (1990).

Download citation

Key words

  • Brassica napus
  • Transgenic
  • Acetohydroxyacid synthase
  • Sulfonylurea
  • Imidazolinone