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Crop Biotech Update

Downregulation of GIGANTEA-like Genes Enhances Growth and Salt Tolerance in Poplar

September 28, 2016

The flowering time regulator GIGANTEA (GI) links networks related to developmental stage transitions and environmental stress responses in Arabidopsis. However, its role in growth, development and responses to environmental challenges in poplar is relatively unknown. Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology's Qingbo Ke and a team of researchers identified and characterized three GI-like genes (PagGIa, PagGIb and PagGIc) from poplar (Populus alba × Populus glandulosa).

PagGIs were found to be rhythmically expressed, peaking at around zeitgeber time 12 under long-day conditions. Overexpressing PagGIs in wild-type (WT) Arabidopsis induced early flowering and decreased salt tolerance. On the other hand, overexpressing PagGIs in a mutant without gi-2 rescued its delayed flowering and salt tolerance. Downregulation of PagGIs led to vigorous growth, higher biomass and enhanced salt stress tolerance in transgenic poplar plants.

These results indicate that GI-like genes in poplar can be the foundation in developing salt-tolerant poplar trees.

For more information, read the full article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.