Root-specific expression of chickpea cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase 6 leads to enhanced root growth, drought tolerance and yield without compromising nodulation.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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:Water-deficit stress is a major environmental factor that limits agricultural productivity worldwide. Recent episodes of extreme drought have severely affected cotton production in the Southwestern USA. There is a pressing need to develop cotton varieties with improved tolerance to water-deficit stress for sustainable production in water-limited regions. One approach to engineer drought tolerance is by delaying drought-induced senescence via up-regulation of cytokinin biosynthesis. The isopentenyltransferase gene (IPT) that encodes a rate limiting enzyme in cytokinin biosynthesis, under the control of a water-deficit responsive and maturation specific promoter P(SARK) was introduced into cotton and the performance of the P(SARK)::IPT transgenic cotton plants was analyzed in the greenhouse and growth chamber conditions. The data indicate that P(SARK)::IPT-transgenic cotton plants displayed delayed senescence under water deficit conditions in the greenhouse. These plants produced more root and shoot biomass, dropped fewer flowers, maintained higher chlorophyll content, and higher photosynthetic rates under reduced irrigation conditions in comparison to wild-type and segregated non-transgenic lines. Furthermore, P(SARK)::IPT-transgenic cotton plants grown in growth chamber condition also displayed greater drought tolerance. These results indicate that water-deficit induced expression of an isopentenyltransferase gene in cotton could significantly improve drought tolerance.
Project description:The extent of growth stimulation of C3 plants by elevated CO2 is modulated by environmental factors. Under optimized environmental conditions (high light, continuous water and nutrient supply, and others), we analysed the effect of an elevated CO2 atmosphere (700 ppm, EC) and the importance of root-bed size on the growth of tobacco. Biomass production was consistently higher under EC. However, the stimulation was overridden by root-bed volumes that restricted root growth. Maximum growth and biomass production were obtained at a root bed of 15 L at ambient and elevated CO2 concentrations. Starting with seed germination, the plants were strictly maintained under ambient or elevated CO2 until flowering. Thus, the well-known acclimation effect of growth to enhanced CO2 did not occur. The relative growth rates of EC plants exceeded those of ambient-CO2 plants only during the initial phases of germination and seedling establishment. This was sufficient for a persistently higher absolute biomass production by EC plants in non-limiting root-bed volumes. Both the size of the root bed and the CO2 concentration influenced the quantitative cytokinin patterns, particularly in the meristematic tissues of shoots, but to a smaller extent in stems, leaves and roots. In spite of the generally low cytokinin concentrations in roots, the amounts of cytokinins moving from the root to the shoot were substantially higher in high-CO2 plants. Because the cytokinin patterns of the (xylem) fluid in the stems did not match those of the shoot meristems, it is assumed that cytokinins as long-distance signals from the roots stimulate meristematic activity in the shoot apex and the sink leaves. Subsequently, the meristems are able to synthesize those phytohormones that are required for the cell cycle. Root-borne cytokinins entering the shoot appear to be one of the major control points for the integration of various environmental cues into one signal for optimized growth.
Project description:Barley is one of the most important cereals, which is used for breweries, animal and human feeds. Genetic manipulation of plant hormone cytokinins may influence several physiological processes, besides others stress tolerance, root formation and crop yield. In planta, endogenous cytokinin status is finely regulated by the enzyme cytokinin dehydrogenase (EC 220.127.116.11; CKX), that irreversible degrades the side chain of adenine-derived isoprenoid cytokinins. Increasing grain yield by mean of manipulation of endogenous cytokinin content was assayed by the silencing of the HvCKX1 gene. Moreover, to elucidate the putative role of HvCKX1 gene on grain production, knocked-out Hvckx1 mutant plants were generated using the RNA-guided Cas9 system. Homozygote transgenic plants with silenced HvCKX1 gene and azygous knock-out Hvckx1 mutants have been selected and analyzed. Both reduced expression of HvCKX1 gene and CKX activity were measured in different stages of barley grain development. Phenotyping of the transgenic lines revealed reduced root growth, however, plants produced more tillers and grains than azygous wild-type controls and the total yield was increased up to 15 per cent. Although plant productivity was increased, total grain biomass was decreased to 80% of WT grains. RNA-seq analysis of knock-down transgenic lines revealed that several important macronutrient transporters were downregulated in the stage of massive starch accumulation. It suggests that local accumulation of cytokinins negatively affected nutrients flow resulting in reduced grain biomass. Obtained results confirmed the key role of HvCKX1 for regulation of cytokinin content in barley.
Project description:The phytohormones auxin and cytokinin control development and maintenance of plant meristems and stem cell systems. Fluorescent protein reporter lines that monitor phytohormone controlled gene expression programmes have been widely used to study development and differentiation in the model species Arabidopsis, but equivalent tools are still missing for the majority of crop species. Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is the fourth most abundant cereal crop plant, but knowledge on these important phytohormones in regard to the barley root and shoot stem cell niches is still negligible. We have now analysed the role of auxin and cytokinin in barley root meristem development, and present fluorescent protein reporter lines that allow to dissect auxin and cytokinin signalling outputs in vivo. We found that application of either auxin or cytokinin to barley seedlings negatively impacts root meristem growth. We further established a barley cytokinin reporter, TCSnew, which revealed significant cytokinin signalling in the stele cells proximal to the QC, and in the differentiated root cap cells. Application of exogenous cytokinin activated signalling in the root stem cell niche. Commonly employed auxin reporters DR5 or DR5v2 failed to respond to auxin in barley. However, analysis of putative auxin signalling targets barley PLETHORA1 (HvPLT1) is expressed in a similar pattern as its orthologue AtPLT1 from Arabidopsis, i.e. in the QC and the surrounding cells. Furthermore, the PINFORMED1 (HvPIN1) auxin efflux carrier was found to be expressed in root and shoot meristems, where it polarly localized to the plasma membrane. HvPIN1 expression is negatively regulated by cytokinin and its intracellular localisation is sensitive to brefeldinA (BFA). With this study, we provide the first fluorescent reporter lines as a tool to study auxin and cytokinin signalling and response pathways in barley.
Project description:The hyperthermostable ?-glucosidase BglB of Thermotoga maritima was modified by adding a short C-terminal tetrapeptide (AFVY, which transports phaseolin to the vacuole, to its C-terminal sequence). The modified ?-glucosidase BglB was transformed into tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) plants. We observed a range of significant phenotypic changes in the transgenic plants compared to the wild-type (WT) plants. The transgenic plants had faster stem growth, earlier flowering, enhanced root systems development, an increased biomass biosynthesis rate, and higher salt stress tolerance in young plants compared to WT. In addition, programed cell death was enhanced in mature plants. Furthermore, the C-terminal AFVY tetrapeptide efficiently sorted T. maritima BglB into the vacuole, which was maintained in an active form and could perform its glycoside hydrolysis function on hormone conjugates, leading to elevated hormone [abscisic acid (ABA), indole 3-acetic acid (IAA), and cytokinin] levels that likely contributed to the phenotypic changes in the transgenic plants. The elevation of cytokinin led to upregulation of the transcription factor WUSCHELL, a homeodomain factor that regulates the development, division, and reproduction of stem cells in the shoot apical meristems. Elevation of IAA led to enhanced root development, and the elevation of ABA contributed to enhanced tolerance to salt stress and programed cell death. These results suggest that overexpressing vacuole-targeted T. maritima BglB may have several advantages for molecular farming technology to improve multiple targets, including enhanced production of the ?-glucosidase BglB, increased biomass, and shortened developmental stages, that could play pivotal roles in bioenergy and biofuel production.
Project description:Genetic modification of shoot and root morphology has potential to improve water and nutrient uptake of wheat crops in rainfed environments. Near-isogenic lines (NILs) varying for a tillering inhibition (tin) gene and representing multiple genetic backgrounds were phenotyped in contrasting, controlled environments for shoot and root growth. Leaf area, shoot and root biomass were similar until tillering, whereupon reduced tillering in tin-containing NILs produced reductions of up to 60% in total leaf area and biomass, and increases in total root length of up to 120% and root biomass to 145%. Together, the root-to-shoot ratio increased two-fold with the tin gene. The influence of tin on shoot and root growth was greatest in the cv. Banks genetic background, particularly in the biculm-selected NIL, and was typically strongest in cooler environments. A separate de-tillering study confirmed greater root-to-shoot ratios with regular tiller removal in non-tin-containing genotypes. In validating these observations in a rainfed field study, the tin allele had a negligible effect on seedling growth but was associated with significantly (P<0.05) reduced tiller number (-37%), leaf area index (-26%), and spike number (-35%) to reduce plant biomass (-19%) at anthesis. Root biomass, root-to-shoot ratio at early stem elongation, and root depth at maturity were all increased in tin-containing NILs. Soil water use was slowed in tin-containing NILs, resulting in greater water availability, greater stomatal conductance, cooler canopy temperatures, and maintenance of green leaf area during grain-filling. Together these effects contributed to increases in harvest index and grain yield. In both the controlled and field environments, the tin gene was commonly associated with increased root length and biomass, but the significant influence of genetic background and environment suggests careful assessment of tin-containing progeny in selection for genotypic increases in root growth.
Project description:Auxin acts synergistically with cytokinin to control the shoot stem-cell niche, while both hormones act antagonistically to maintain the root meristem. In aluminum (Al) stress-induced root growth inhibition, auxin plays an important role. However, the role of cytokinin in this process is not well understood. In this study, we show that cytokinin enhances root growth inhibition under stress by mediating Al-induced auxin signaling. Al stress triggers a local cytokinin response in the root-apex transition zone (TZ) that depends on IPTs, which encode adenosine phosphate isopentenyltransferases and regulate cytokinin biosynthesis. IPTs are up-regulated specifically in the root-apex TZ in response to Al stress and promote local cytokinin biosynthesis and inhibition of root growth. The process of root growth inhibition is also controlled by ethylene signaling which acts upstream of auxin. In summary, different from the situation in the root meristem, auxin acts with cytokinin in a synergistic way to mediate aluminum-induced root growth inhibition in Arabidopsis.
Project description:Trace metals (TM) contamination is a severe problem in the environment and produced an adverse effect on the productivity of crops. Cadmium (Cd) is a TM ranked seven among the top 20 pollutants due to its high toxicity and solubility in water, taken up by the plants and affects their growth and metabolism. In this study, we evaluated the growth, Cd accumulation and tolerance capacities of three chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) cultivars (NC234 (NC2), ICCV89310 (IC8) and ICCV89323-B (IC8-B)), subjected to two Cd concentrations (25 and 50 µM) in hydroponic culture. The toxicity of Cd reduced the plant height and fresh and dry biomass in all cultivars. The maximum reduction was observed at 50 µM of Cd. Compared with IC8-B, cultivars IC8 and NC2 exhibited better performance with high growth, biomass, root to shoot (R/S) ratio and water content under high Cd stress. To measure the accumulation of Cd in root and shoot, an inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES) was used. IC8 and NC2 had comparatively high Cd tolerance and accumulation ability (> 100 µg g-1 dry weight), with IC8 being more tolerant and accumulated higher Cd in shoot than NC2, while cultivar IC8-B was sensitive. Root accumulated more Cd than shoot in a dose-dependent manner. The bioconcentration factors (BCF) and bioaccumulation coefficients (BAC) were far higher than one (> 1) and increased with an increase in Cd concentrations, while the translocation factor (TF) was less than one (< 1), suggesting that all the three cultivars were unable to transfer Cd from the root to the shoot efficiently. Our results indicated that IC8 and NC2 proved to be resistant, while IC8-B showed sensitivity when exposed to high Cd stress (50 µM).