Biotech Updates

Blocking OsAAP3 in Rice Improves Grain Yield

March 7, 2018

Amino acid transporters (AATs) play roles in nutrient allocation during plant development. Kai Lu of Wuhan Institute of Bioengineering in China demonstrated that inhibiting the expression of the rice amino acid transporter OsAAP3 can boost grain yield through increasing the number of tillers.

Elevated expression of OsAAP3 in transgenic plants resulted in significantly higher amino acid concentrations and inhibited bud outgrowth and rice tillering. However, knockout of OsAAP3 decreased the amino acid concentrations to a small extent, and thus promoted bud outgrowth, increasing significantly tiller numbers. This led to an enhanced grain yield and nitrogen use efficiency.

The team also found that the expression of OsAAP3 was higher in Japonica, which produced fewer tillers than Indica. The team then generated knockout-lines of OsAAP3 on Japonica using CRISPR-Cas9, resulting in Japonica mutant lines with enhanced grain yield.

These results suggest that manipulation of OsAAP3 expression could be used to increase grain yield in rice.

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