Plants resistant to different sources of stress (biotic, abiotic and xenobiotic) as a result of the expression of a cyanobacterial flavodoxin


The technology offered has been developed by researchers of the Laboratory of Plant Stress Biology, in collaboration with the National University of Zaragoza (Spain).

Researchers have developed tobacco plants in which they have introduced a flavodoxin gene from cyanobacteria whose protein being localized in chloroplasts. Flavodoxin is a promiscuous electron carrier which resets electron distribution disturbed by adverse environmental circumstances. It is not present in plants.

The introduction of this gene gives plants a broad tolerance to the toxic effects produced by reactive oxygen species generated by various sources of stress (extreme temperatures, UV -B radiation, nutritional deficiencies, drought and herbicides cyclic redox).

Application domain

AAgriculture: the use of this construction can be used to increase tolerance to multiple stresses in plants of commercial interest such as soybeans, corn, wheat, sorghum, rice, etc.


It is a useful biotechnological tool for the development of crops tolerant to extreme temperatures, UV-B radiation and nutritional deficits.

State of development

  • Tested in the laboratory.
  • The field tests were successfully conducted.

State of intellectual property

The technology is protected by patents belonging to the National University of Rosario and CONICET.

U.S. Patent N° 6, 781.034, Australian Patent N° 2002334130, European Patent N° EP1442127, Canadian Patent N° CA 2360107, have been licensed to the company Plant Bioscience Limited (PBL).

Details of potential operating or partnership agreements

The PBL enterprise has the exclusive worldwide rights to commercially exploit the technology, including the right to sublicense.

For further assessment and licensing opportunities, contact:
Dr Jan Chojecki
Tel: +44 (0)1603 456500
Fax: +44 (0)1603 456552


  • Functional Replacement of Ferredoxin by a Cyanobacterial Flavodoxin in Tobacco Confers Broad Range Stress Tolerance. Tognetti V, Palatnik J, Fillat M, Melzer M, Hajirezaei M-R, Valle E and Carillo N. The Plant Cell (2006): 18(8); 2035-2050.
  • Enhanced plant tolerance to iron starvation by functional substitution of chloroplast ferredoxin with a bacterial flavodoxin. Tognetti VB, Zurbriggen MD, Morandi EN, Fillat MF, Valle EM, Hajirezaei M-R and Carrillo N. PNAS (2007): 104 (27); 11495-11500.
  • Stress-inducible flavodoxin from photosynthetic microorganisms. The mystery of flavodoxin loss from the plant genome. Zurbriggen MD,Tognetti VB and Carrillo N. IUBMB Life (2007): 59(4-5):355-60.
  • Detoxification of 2,4-dinitrotoluene by Transgenic Tobacco Plants Expressing a Bacterial Flavodoxin. Tognetti VB, Monti MR, Valle EM, Carrillo N and Smania AM. Environmental Science and Technology (2007): 41 (11); 4071-4076.
  • Chloroplast-generated reactive oxygen species play a major role in localized cell death during the non-host interaction between tobacco and Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria. Zurbriggen MD, Carrillo N, Tognetti VB, Melzer M, Peisker M, Hause B and Hajirezaei M-R. Plant J (2009): 60 (6); 962 – 973.
  • Combating stress with flavodoxin: a promising route for crop improvement. M. D. Zurbriggen, V. B. Tognetti, M. F. Fillat, M-R. Hajirezaei, E. M. Valle, N. Carrillo (2008) Trends Biotechnol. 26 (10), 531-538.


Dr. Néstor Carrillo