Control of plant growth is an important aspect of crop productivity and yield in agriculture. Overexpression of the At CHR12/ 23 genes in Arabidopsis thaliana reduced growth habit without other morphological changes. These two genes encode Snf2 chromatin remodelling ATPases. Here, we translate this approach to the horticultural crop tomato ( Solanum lycopersicum). We identified and cloned the single tomato ortholog of the two Arabidopsis Snf2 genes, designated Sl CHR1. Transgenic tomato plants (cv. Micro-Tom) that constitutively overexpress the coding sequence of Sl CHR1 show reduced growth in all developmental stages of tomato. This confirms that Sl CHR1 combines the functions of both Arabidopsis genes in tomato. Compared to the wild type, the transgenic seedlings of tomato have significantly shorter roots, hypocotyls and reduced cotyledon size. Transgenic plants have a much more compact growth habit with markedly reduced plant height, severely compacted reproductive structures with smaller flowers and smaller fruits. The results indicate that either GMO-based or non- GMO-based approaches to modulate the expression of chromatin remodelling ATPase genes could develop into methods to control plant growth, for example to replace the use of chemical growth retardants. This approach is likely to be applicable and attractive for any crop for which growth habit reduction has added value.
|Journal||Plant Biotechnology Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Feb 2016|
- chromatin remodelling
- plant habit