Description: Plants utilize carbon by partitioning the reduced carbon obtained through photosynthesis into different compartments and into different chemistries within a cell and subsequently allocating such carbon to sink tissues throughout the plant. Since the phytohormones auxin and cytokinin are known to influence sink strength in tissues such as roots (Skoog & Miller 1957, Nordstrom et al. 2004), we hypothesized that altering the expression of genes that regulate auxin-mediated (e.g., AUX/IAA or ARF transcription factors) or cytokinin-mediated (e.g., RR transcription factors) control of root growth and development would impact carbon allocation and partitioning belowground (Fig. 1 - Renewal Proposal). Specifically, the ARF, AUX/IAA and RR transcription factor gene families mediate the effects of the growth regulators auxin and cytokinin on cell expansion, cell division and differentiation into root primordia. Invertases (IVR), whose transcript abundance is enhanced by both auxin and cytokinin, are critical components of carbon movement and therefore of carbon allocation. Thus, we initiated comparative genomic studies to identify the AUX/IAA, ARF, RR and IVR gene families in the Populus genome that could impact carbon allocation and partitioning. Bioinformatics searches using Arabidopsis gene sequences as queries identified regions with high degrees of sequence similarities in the Populus genome. These Populus sequences formed the basis of our transgenic experiments. Transgenic modification of gene expression involving members of these gene families was hypothesized to have profound effects on carbon allocation and partitioning.
Date: October 11, 2007
Creator: Davis, J. M.
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