The rise and rise of nicotiana benthamiana: A plant for all reasons

Julia Bally, Hyungtaek Jung, Cara Mortimer, Fatima Naim, Joshua G. Philips, Roger Hellens, Aureliano Bombarely, Michael M. Goodin, Peter M. Waterhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


A decade ago, the value of Nicotiana benthamiana as a tool for plant molecular biologists was beginning to be appreciated. Scientists were using it to study plant-microbe and protein-protein interactions, and it was the species of choice with which to activate plasmid-encoded viruses, screen for gene functions with virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS), and transiently express genes by leaf agroinfiltration. However, little information about the species' origin, diversity, genetics, and genomics was available, and biologists were asking the question of whether N. benthamiana is a second fiddle or virtuoso. In this review, we look at the increased knowledge about the species and its applications over the past decade. Although N. benthamiana may still be the sidekick to Arabidopsis, it shines ever more brightly with realized and yet-to-be-exploited potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-426
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual Review of Phytopathology
StatePublished - Aug 25 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Ed Newbigin, Pauline Ladiges, Craig Wood, and Michal Lorenc for many helpful discussions. The support from a Laureate Fellowship (FL160100155) and Discovery Grant (DP170103960) to P.M.W. from the Australian Research Council and from the Kentucky Science & Engineering Foundation (KSEF-3490-RDE-019) to M.G. is gratefully acknowledged. We apologize to colleagues whose publications were not cited because of space limitations.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


  • Nicotiana benthamiana
  • VIGS
  • agroinfiltration
  • biofactory
  • cellular localization
  • polyploid genome
  • virus-induced gene silencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The rise and rise of nicotiana benthamiana: A plant for all reasons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this