Overexpression of PsnSuSy1, 2 genes enhances secondary cell wall thickening, vegetative growth, and mechanical strength in transgenic tobacco

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Two homologs PsnSuSy1 and PsnSuSy2 from poplar played largely similar but little distinct roles in modulating sink strength, accelerating vegetative growth and modifying secondary growth of plant. Co-overexpression of them together resulted in small but perceptible additive effects.


Sucrose synthase (SuSy) acts as a crucial determinant of sink strength by controlling the conversion of sucrose into UDP-glucose, which is not only the sole precursor for cellulose biosynthesis but also an extracellular signaling molecule for plants growth. Therefore, modification of SuSy activity in plants is of utmost importance. We have isolated two SuSy genes from poplar, PsnSuSy1 and PsnSuSy2, which were preferentially expressed in secondary xylem/phloem. To investigate their functions, T2 tobacco transgenic lines of PsnSuSy1 and PsnSuSy2 were generated and then crossed to generate PsnSuSy1/PsnSuSy2 dual overexpression transgenic lines. SuSy activities in all lines were significantly increased though PsnSuSy1/PsnSuSy2 lines only exhibited slightly higher SuSy activities than either PsnSuSy1 or PsnSuSy2 lines. The significantly increased fructose and glucose, engendered by augmented SuSy activities, caused the alternations of many physiological, biochemical measures and phenotypic traits that include accelerated vegetative growth, thickened secondary cell wall, and increased stem breaking force, accompanied with altered expression levels of related pathway genes. The correlation relationships between SuSy activities and many of these traits were statistically significant. However, differences of almost all traits among three types of transgenic lines were insignificant. These findings clearly demonstrated that PsnSuSy1 and PsnSuSy2 had similar but little distinct functions and insubstantial additive effects on modulating sink strength and affecting allocation of carbon elements among secondary cell wall components.

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11103-019-00850-w

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Plant Molecular Biology