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Open AccessArticle

Flower-Specific Overproduction of Cytokinins Altered Flower Development and Sex Expression in the Perennial Woody Plant Jatropha curcas L.

1
School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230027, China
2
CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Plant Resources and Sustainable Use, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, The Innovative Academy of Seed Design, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla 666303, China
3
Center of Economic Botany, Core Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla 666303, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(2), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21020640
Received: 19 December 2019 / Revised: 13 January 2020 / Accepted: 15 January 2020 / Published: 18 January 2020
Jatropha curcas L. is monoecious with a low female-to-male ratio, which is one of the factors restricting its seed yield. Because the phytohormone cytokinins play an essential role in flower development, particularly pistil development, in this study, we elevated the cytokinin levels in J. curcas flowers through transgenic expression of a cytokinin biosynthetic gene (AtIPT4) from Arabidopsis under the control of a J. curcas orthologue of TOMATO MADS BOX GENE 6 (JcTM6) promoter that is predominantly active in flowers. As expected, the levels of six cytokinin species in the inflorescences were elevated, and flower development was modified without any alterations in vegetative growth. In the transgenic J. curcas plants, the flower number per inflorescence was significantly increased, and most flowers were pistil-predominantly bisexual, i.e., the flowers had a huge pistil surrounded with small stamens. Unfortunately, both the male and the bisexual flowers of transgenic J. curcas were infertile, which might have resulted from the continuously high expression of the transgene during flower development. However, the number and position of floral organs in the transgenic flowers were well defined, which suggested that the determinacy of the floral meristem was not affected. These results suggest that fine-tuning the endogenous cytokinins can increase the flower number and the female-to-male ratio in J. curcas. View Full-Text
Keywords: cytokinin; AtIPT4; JcTM6 promoter; flower development; bisexual flower; Jatropha curcas L. cytokinin; AtIPT4; JcTM6 promoter; flower development; bisexual flower; Jatropha curcas L.
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Ming, X.; Tao, Y.-B.; Fu, Q.; Tang, M.; He, H.; Chen, M.-S.; Pan, B.-Z.; Xu, Z.-F. Flower-Specific Overproduction of Cytokinins Altered Flower Development and Sex Expression in the Perennial Woody Plant Jatropha curcas L.. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 640.

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