Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Promotion of shoot development and tuberisation in potato by expression of a chimaeric cytokinin synthesis gene at normal and elevated CO2 levels

Guo-Qing Tao A D , D. Stuart Letham A , Jean W. H. Yong B E F , Kerong Zhang A C , Peter C. L. John A , Owen Schwartz A , S. Chin Wong B and Graham D. Farquhar B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Plant Cell Biology, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, PO Box 475, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

B Environmental Biology, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, PO Box 475, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

C Genomic Interactions, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, PO Box 475, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

D Victoria Department of Primary Industries, Bundoora, Vic. 3083, Australia.

E Natural Sciences and Science Education Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

F Corresponding author. Email: jean.yong@nie.edu.sg

Functional Plant Biology 37(1) 43-54 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP07032
Submitted: 3 February 2007  Accepted: 25 September 2009   Published: 5 January 2010

Abstract

The bacterial cytokinin biosynthesis gene ipt under control of a chalcone synthase promoter (PCHS) was introduced into potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). Two transgenic lines were selected for detailed study, because in these, root development was reduced only moderately, thus, enabling the plants to be grown in pots. Expression of the PCHS-ipt gene elevated the level of zeatin cytokinins markedly in the apical bud, subapical stems and leaves. The transgenic (IPT) plants exhibited a lower and denser leaf canopy relative to wild-type (WT) plants owing to reduction in main stem length, increase in node number per stem and promotion of lateral shoot development. Main stem diameter was increased markedly due to promotion of cell division associated with activation of cyclin-dependent kinase in the subapical stem. Expression of the PCHS-ipt gene induced aerial stolons, promoted growth of underground stolons and increased tuber number but reduced tuber weight and nitrogen content. The gene expression also increased pinnae and pinnule number per leaf, increased thickness of pinnae and promoted transpiration, photosynthesis and stomatal conductance – effects monitored by gas exchange and 18O and 13C analysis. The elevation of [CO2] to 900 μmol mol–1 promoted growth of both WT and IPT plants, ameliorated the negative effect of high cytokinin on tuber weight and interacted additively with ipt gene expression to promote stem growth.

Additional keywords: cyclin-dependent kinase, photosynthesis, stable isotopes.


Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Mr DA Willcocks for assistance in growing potato plants, Ms Jan Elliott for valuable help in preparing the manuscript.


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