PagGRF11 Overexpression Promotes Stem Development and Dwarfing in Populus Tian, Yanting; Zhao, Ye; Sun, Yuhan; El-Kassaby, Yousry A.; Song, Guoyong; Mi, Yueqi; Han, Juan; Li, Yun
Poplar is not only an important woody plant, but also a model species for molecular plant studies. We identified PagGRF11 (pAxG07Gg0005700), a homolog of the Arabidopsis AtGRF1 (AT4G37740) and AtGRF2 (AT2G22840) gene. We transformed the poplar clone “84K” with PagGRF11, and the transgenic overexpressed plants (PagGRF11-OE) showed plant height reduction (dwarfing), stem diameter increase, internode shortening, and larger leaf area. The Arabidopsis overexpression line grf-oe (Overexpression of PagGRF11 in Arabidopsis), mutant line atgrf (a loss-of-function mutant of the AtGRF1 gene of Arabidopsis thaliana), and mutant trans-complementary line atgrf+oe (overexpression of PagGRF11 in mutant plants (atgrf)) also showed different leaf size phenotypes. Further, tissue sections revealed that increased xylem production was the main cause of stem thickening. Transcriptome differential expression analysis of PagGRF11 overexpressed and control plants showed that PagGRF11 promoted CCCH39(C3H39) expression. The expression profile of CCCH39 in different tissues showed that it was highly expressed in xylem. Yeast single hybrid and instantaneous double luciferase assay results showed that PagGRF11 directly transcribed and activated CCCH39 expression through interaction with cis-acting element GARE (TCTGTTG), thus promoting xylem development. This is the first finding that GRF positively regulates xylem development through CCCH39 expression activation and further suggests that PagGRF11 is a potential target for increasing wood yield.
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