Root enhancement in cytokinin-deficient oilseed rape causes leaf mineral enrichment, increases the chlorophyll concentration under nutrient limitation and enhances the phytoremediation capacity.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Cytokinin is a negative regulator of root growth, and a reduction of the cytokinin content or signalling causes the formation a larger root system in model plants, improves their growth under drought and nutrient limitation and causes increased accumulation of elements in the shoot. Roots are an important but understudied target of plant breeding. Here we have therefore explored whether root enhancement by lowering the cytokinin content can also be achieved in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) plants. RESULTS:Transgenic plants overexpressing the CKX2 gene of Arabidopsis thaliana encoding a cytokinin-degrading cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase showed higher CKX activity and a strongly reduced cytokinin content. Cytokinin deficiency led to the formation of a larger root system under different growth conditions, which was mainly due to an increased number of lateral and adventitious roots. In contrast, shoot growth was comparable to wild type, which caused an enhanced root-to-shoot ratio. Transgenic plants accumulated in their leaves higher concentrations of macro- and microelements including P, Ca, Mg, S, Zn, Cu, Mo and Mn. They formed more chlorophyll under Mg- and S-deficiency and accumulated a larger amount of Cd and Zn from contaminated medium and soil. CONCLUSIONS:These findings demonstrate the usefulness of ectopic CKX gene expression to achieve root enhancement in oilseed rape and underpin the functional relevance of a larger root system. Furthermore, the lack of major developmental consequences on shoot growth in cytokinin-deficient oilseed rape indicates species-specific differences of CKX gene and/or cytokinin action.
Project description:Zinc (Zn) is an essential element in human nutrition. The concentration of Zn in cereals, which is a staple food in developing countries, is often too low thus contributing to Zn malnutrition in nearly two billion people worldwide. We have reported recently that transgenic barley plants expressing a cytokinin-degrading CYTOKININ OXIDASE/DEHYDROGENASE (CKX) gene in their roots form a larger root system and accumulate a higher concentration of Zn in their grains when grown under greenhouse conditions. Here, we have tested this trait under field conditions. Four independent pEPP:CKX lines accumulated an up to 30% higher Zn concentration in their grains as compared to the untransformed control suggesting that this is a stable trait. The increased Zn concentration exceeded the limit set by the HarvestPlus program for wheat. We, therefore, propose that root enhancement achieved by increased degradation of cytokinin in roots can be a sustainable strategy to combat malnutrition caused by Zn deficiency.
Project description:The plant hormone group, the cytokinins, is implicated in both qualitative and quantitative components of yield. Cytokinins have opposing actions in shoot and root growth-actions shown to involve cytokinin dehydrogenase (CKX), the enzyme that inactivates cytokinin. We revise and provide unambiguous names for the CKX gene family members in wheat, based on the most recently released wheat genome database, IWGSC RefSeq v1.0 & v2.0. We review expression data of CKX gene family members in wheat, revealing tissue-specific gene family member expression as well as sub-genome-specific expression. Manipulation of CKX in cereals shows clear impacts on yield, root growth and orientation, and Zn nutrition, but this also emphasizes the necessity to unlink promotive effects on grain yield from negative effects of cytokinin on root growth and uptake of mineral nutrients, particularly Zn and Fe. Wheat is the most widely grown cereal crop globally, yet is under-research compared with rice and maize. We highlight gaps in our knowledge of the involvement of CKX for wheat. We also highlight the necessity for accurate analysis of endogenous cytokinins, acknowledging why this is challenging, and provide examples where inadequate analyses of endogenous cytokinins have led to unjustified conclusions. We acknowledge that the allohexaploid nature of bread wheat poses challenges in terms of uncovering useful mutations. However, we predict TILLING followed by whole-exome sequencing will uncover informative mutations and we indicate the potential for stacking mutations within the three genomes to modify yield components. We model a wheat ideotype based on CKX manipulation.
Project description:Barley is one of the most important cereal crops grown worldwide. It has numerous applications, but its utility could potentially be extended by genetically manipulating its hormonal balances. To explore some of this potential we identified gene families of cytokinin dehydrogenases (CKX) and isopentenyl transferases, enzymes that respectively irreversibly degrade and synthesize cytokinin (CK) plant hormones, in the raw sequenced barley genome. We then examined their spatial and temporal expression patterns by immunostaining and qPCR. Two CKX-specific antibodies, anti-HvCKX1 and anti-HvCKX9, predominantly detect proteins in the aleurone layer of maturing grains and leaf vasculature, respectively. In addition, two selected CKX genes were used for stable, Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation of the barley cultivar Golden Promise. The results show that constitutive overexpression of CKX causes morphological changes in barley plants and prevents their transition to flowering. In all independent transgenic lines roots proliferated more rapidly and root-to-shoot ratios were higher than in wild-type plants. Only one transgenic line, overexpressing CKX under the control of a promoter from a phosphate transporter gene, which is expressed more strongly in root tissue than in aerial parts, yielded progeny. Analysis of several T1-generation plants indicates that plants tend to compensate for effects of the transgene and restore CK homeostasis later during development. Depleted CK levels during early phases of development are restored by down-regulation of endogenous CKX genes and reinforced de novo biosynthesis of CKs.
Project description:Cytokinin group of phytohormones regulate root elongation and branching during post-embryonic development. Cytokinin-degrading enzymes cytokinin oxidases/dehydrogenases (CKXs) have been deployed to investigate biological activities of cytokinin and to engineer root growth. We expressed chickpea cytokinin oxidase 6 (CaCKX6) under the control of a chickpea root-specific promoter of CaWRKY31 in Arabidopsis thaliana and chickpea having determinate and indeterminate growth patterns, respectively, to study the effect of cytokinin depletion on root growth and drought tolerance. Root-specific expression of CaCKX6 led to a significant increase in lateral root number and root biomass in Arabidopsis and chickpea without any penalty to vegetative and reproductive growth of shoot. Transgenic chickpea lines showed increased CKX activity in root. Soil-grown advanced chickpea transgenic lines exhibited higher root-to-shoot biomass ratio and enhanced long-term drought tolerance. These chickpea lines were not compromised in root nodulation and nitrogen fixation. The seed yield in some lines was up to 25% higher with no penalty in protein content. Transgenic chickpea seeds possessed higher levels of zinc, iron, potassium and copper. Our results demonstrated the potential of cytokinin level manipulation in increasing lateral root number and root biomass for agronomic trait improvement in an edible legume crop with indeterminate growth habit.
Project description:The arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is functionally important for the nutrition and growth of most terrestrial plants. Nearly all phytohormones are employed by plants to regulate the symbiosis with AM fungi, but the regulatory role of cytokinin (CK) is not well understood. Here, we used transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) with a root-specific or constitutive expression of CK-degrading CKX genes and the corresponding wild-type to investigate whether a lowered content of CK in roots or in both roots and shoots influences the interaction with the AM fungus Rhizophagus irregularis. Our data indicates that shoot CK has a positive impact on AM fungal development in roots and on the root transcript level of an AM-responsive phosphate transporter gene (NtPT4). A reduced CK content in roots caused shoot and root growth depression following AM colonization, while neither the uptake of phosphorus or nitrogen nor the root transcript levels of NtPT4 were significantly affected. This suggests that root CK may restrict the C availability from the roots to the fungus thus averting parasitism by AM fungi. Taken together, our study indicates that shoot- and root-borne CK have distinct roles in AM symbiosis. We propose a model illustrating how plants may employ CK to regulate nutrient exchange with the ubiquitous AM fungi.
Project description:Effects of cold plasma treatment on seed germination, seedling growth, antioxidant enzymes, lipid peroxidation levels and osmotic-adjustment products of oilseed rape under drought stress were investigated in a drought-sensitive (Zhongshuang 7) and drought-tolerant cultivar (Zhongshuang 11). Results showed that, under drought stress, cold plasma treatment significantly improved the germination rate by 6.25% in Zhongshuang 7, and 4.44% in Zhongshuang 11. Seedling growth characteristics, including shoot and root dry weights, shoot and root lengths, and lateral root number, significantly increased after cold plasma treatment. The apparent contact angle was reduced by 30.38% in Zhongshuang 7 and 16.91% in Zhongshuang 11. Cold plasma treatment markedly raised superoxide dismutase and catalase activities by 17.71% and 16.52% in Zhongshuang 7, and by 13.00% and 13.21% in Zhongshuang 11. Moreover, cold plasma treatment significantly increased the soluble sugar and protein contents, but reduced the malondialdehyde content in seedlings. Our results suggested that cold plasma treatment improved oilseed rape drought tolerance by improving antioxidant enzyme activities, increasing osmotic-adjustment products, and reducing lipid peroxidation, especially in the drought-sensitive cultivar (Zhongshuang 7). Thus, cold plasma treatment can be used in an ameliorative way to improve germination and protect oilseed rape seedlings against damage caused by drought stress.
Project description:Gaining a greater understanding of the plant microbiota and its interactions with its host plant heralds a new era of scientific discovery in agriculture. Different agricultural management practices influence soil microbial populations by changing a soil's physical, chemical and biological properties. However, the impact of these practices on the microbiota associated with economically important crops such as oilseed rape, are still understudied. In this work we investigated the impact of two contrasting crop establishment practices, conventional (plow based) and conservation (strip-tillage) systems, on the microbiota inhabiting different plant microhabitats, namely rhizosphere, root and shoot, of winter oilseed rape under Irish agronomic conditions. Illumina 16S rRNA gene sequence profiling showed that the plant associated microhabitats (root and shoot), are dominated by members of the bacterial phyla Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes. The root and shoot associated bacterial communities displayed markedly distinct profiles as a result of tillage practices. We observed a very limited 'rhizosphere effect' in the root zone of WOSR, i.e., there was little or no increase in bacterial community richness and abundance in the WOSR rhizosphere compared to the bulk soil. The two tillage systems investigated did not appear to lead to any major long term differences on the bulk soil or rhizosphere bacterial communities. Our data suggests that the WOSR root and shoot microbiota can be impacted by management practices and is an important mechanism that could allow us to understand how plants respond to different management practices and environments.
Project description:Barley is among four of the most important cereal crops with respect to global production. Increasing barley yields to desired levels can be achieved by the genetic manipulation of cytokinin content. Cytokinins are plant hormones that regulate many developmental processes and have a strong influence on grain yield. Cytokinin homeostasis is regulated by members of several multigene families. CKX genes encode the cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase enzyme, which catalyzes the irreversible degradation of cytokinin. Several recent studies have demonstrated that the RNAi-based silencing of CKX genes leads to increased grain yields in some crop species. To assess the possibility of increasing the grain yield of barley by knocking out CKX genes, we used an RNA-guided Cas9 system to generate ckx1 and ckx3 mutant lines with knockout mutations in the HvCKX1 and HvCKX3 genes, respectively. Homozygous, transgene-free mutant lines were subsequently selected and analyzed. A significant decrease in CKX enzyme activity was observed in the spikes of the ckx1 lines, while in the ckx3 lines, the activity remained at a similar level to that in the control plants. Despite these differences, no changes in grain yield were observed in either mutant line. In turn, differences in CKX activity in the roots between the ckx1 and ckx3 mutants were reflected via root morphology. The decreased CKX activity in the ckx1 lines corresponded to greater root length, increased surface area, and greater numbers of root hairs, while the increased CKX activity in the ckx3 mutants gave the opposite results. RNA-seq analysis of the spike and root transcriptomes revealed an altered regulation of genes controlling cytokinin metabolism and signaling, as well as other genes that are important during seed development, such as those that encode nutrient transporters. The observed changes suggest that the knockout of a single CKX gene in barley may be not sufficient for disrupting cytokinin homeostasis or increasing grain yields.
Project description:Salinity limits crop productivity, in part by decreasing shoot concentrations of the growth-promoting and senescence-delaying hormones cytokinins. Since constitutive cytokinin overproduction may have pleiotropic effects on plant development, two approaches assessed whether specific root-localized transgenic IPT (a key enzyme for cytokinin biosynthesis) gene expression could substantially improve tomato plant growth and yield under salinity: transient root IPT induction (HSP70::IPT) and grafting wild-type (WT) shoots onto a constitutive IPT-expressing rootstock (WT/35S::IPT). Transient root IPT induction increased root, xylem sap, and leaf bioactive cytokinin concentrations 2- to 3-fold without shoot IPT gene expression. Although IPT induction reduced root biomass (by 15%) in control (non-salinized) plants, in salinized plants (100?mM NaCl for 22?d), increased cytokinin concentrations delayed stomatal closure and leaf senescence and almost doubled shoot growth (compared with WT plants), with concomitant increases in the essential nutrient K(+) (20%) and decreases in the toxic ion Na(+) (by 30%) and abscisic acid (by 20-40%) concentrations in transpiring mature leaves. Similarly, WT/35S::IPT plants (scion/rootstock) grown with 75?mM NaCl for 90?d had higher fruit trans-zeatin concentrations (1.5- to 2-fold) and yielded 30% more than WT/non-transformed plants. Enhancing root cytokinin synthesis modified both shoot hormonal and ionic status, thus ameliorating salinity-induced decreases in growth and yield.
Project description:Glutathione is a tripeptide involved in various aspects of plant metabolism. This study investigated the effects of the reduced form of glutathione (GSH) applied to specific organs (source leaves, sink leaves, and roots) on cadmium (Cd) distribution and behaviour in the roots of oilseed rape plants (Brassica napus) cultured hydroponically. The translocation ratio of Cd from roots to shoots was significantly lower in plants that had root treatment of GSH than in control plants. GSH applied to roots reduced the Cd concentration in the symplast sap of root cells and inhibited root-to-shoot Cd translocation via xylem vessels significantly. GSH applied to roots also activated Cd efflux from root cells to the hydroponic solution. Inhibition of root-to-shoot translocation of Cd was visualized, and the activation of Cd efflux from root cells was also shown by using a positron-emitting tracer imaging system (PETIS). This study investigated a similar inhibitory effect on root-to-shoot translocation of Cd by the oxidized form of glutathione, GSSG. Inhibition of Cd accumulation by GSH was abolished by a low-temperature treatment. Root cells of plants exposed to GSH in the root zone had less Cd available for xylem loading by actively excluding Cd from the roots. Consequently, root-to-shoot translocation of Cd was suppressed and Cd accumulation in the shoot decreased.