Ectopic expression of a Chinese cabbage BrARGOS gene in Arabidopsis increases organ size

Bao Wang, Xincheng Zhou, Feng Xu, Jianwei Gao
Transgenic Research 2010, 19 (3): 461-72
Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L. ssp. pekinensis) is a common and economically important crop in Asia. Specific targets of plant breeding programs for cabbage have been improvement in yield, resistance to environment stresses, and nutrition quality by means of genetic manipulation. To obtain information on yield improvement applicable for the genetic engineering approach, we have attempted to dissect the molecular pathways that regulate organ size. We first isolated a putative homolog of ARGOS full-length cDNA from Chinese cabbage leaves, which we designated BrARGOS. At the transcription level, BrARGOS was detected in all organs tested in Chinese cabbage. To test the function of this gene, we then engineered Arabidopsis plants that would overexpress BrARGOS ectopically. The organs of the transgenic Arabidopsis plants were significantly larger than those of the control plants. This increase in size was due to enhanced cell proliferation, with no contribution from cell expansion. The molecular analysis revealed that overexpression of BrARGOS up-regulated the transcription of several genes involved in the control of organ size. These results suggest that the BrARGOS gene may function as one of the regulators of organ size in Chinese cabbage. As such, manipulation of the BrARGOS gene may significantly increase the size of Chinese cabbage organs, such as Chinese cabbage heads.

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