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Open AccessArticle

Overexpression of a Novel LcKNOX Transcription Factor from Liriodendron chinense Induces Lobed Leaves in Arabidopsis thaliana

by Jikai Ma 1, Guoguo Mei 1, Huanhuan Liu 1 and Huogen Li 1,2,*
1
Key Laboratory of Forest Genetics & Biotechnology of Ministry of Education, Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
2
College of Forestry, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2020, 11(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010033
Received: 6 December 2019 / Revised: 18 December 2019 / Accepted: 23 December 2019 / Published: 24 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
Liriodendron chinense is a common ornamental tree that has attractive leaves, which is a valuable trait for use in landscape architecture. In this work, we aimed to identify the potential genes that control and regulate the development of L. chinense leaf lobes. Based on the transcriptome data for the leaf developmental stages we previously generated, two candidate genes were identified in this study. KNOTTED-LIKE HOMEOBOX(KNOX), encoding homeobox family proteins, play a large role in leaf lobe and leaf complexity regulation. Here, two full length KNOX genes from L. chinense were amplified and named LcKNOX1 and LcKNOX6 according to their sequence similarities with the respective Arabidopsis thaliana KNOX family genes. Overexpression vectors were constructed and subsequently transformed into wild type (WT) A. thaliana. Additionally, LcKNOX6 was expressed in tobacco leaves to examine its subcellular localization, and the 35S::LcKNOX6 transgenic A. thaliana leaf cells were imaged with the use of SEM. The expression of several genes that participate in KNOX gene regulation were validated by quantitative real-time PCR. The results show that LcKNOX1 produces almost the same phenotype as that found in WT A. thaliana. Notably, the LcKNOX6-1 lines presented deep leaf lobes that were similar to L. chinense leaf lobes. Two 35S::LcKNOX6 lines induced an abnormal growth phenotype whose seeds were abortive. In short, these results indicate that the LcKNOX6 gene might affect leaf development in A. thaliana and provide insights into the regulation of L. chinense leaf shaping. View Full-Text
Keywords: leaf shape; primordia initiation; axes growth; transcription factors; phytohormone leaf shape; primordia initiation; axes growth; transcription factors; phytohormone
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Ma, J.; Mei, G.; Liu, H.; Li, H. Overexpression of a Novel LcKNOX Transcription Factor from Liriodendron chinense Induces Lobed Leaves in Arabidopsis thaliana. Forests 2020, 11, 33.

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