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Agroinfiltration in Nicotiana benthamiana is widely used to transiently express heterologous proteins in plants. However, the state of Agrobacterium itself is not well studied in agroinfiltrated tissues, despite frequent studies of immunity genes conducted through agroinfiltration. Here, we generated a bioluminescent strain of Agrobacterium tumefaciens GV3101 to monitor the luminescence of Agrobacterium during agroinfiltration. By integrating a single copy of the lux operon into the genome, we generated a stable 'AgroLux' strain, which is bioluminescent without affecting Agrobacterium growth in vitro and in planta. To illustrate its versatility, we used AgroLux to demonstrate that high light intensity post infiltration suppresses both Agrobacterium luminescence and protein expression. We also discovered that AgroLux can detect Avr/Cf-induced immune responses before tissue collapse, establishing a robust and rapid quantitative assay for the hypersensitive response (HR). Thus, AgroLux provides a non-destructive, versatile and easy-to-use imaging tool to monitor both Agrobacterium and plant responses.

Original publication




Journal article


Plant J

Publication Date



Agrobacterium tumefaciens , Nicotiana benthamiana , agroinfiltration, bioluminescence, effector-triggered immunity, immunity, molecular pharming, technical advance