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Title: A Vitis vinifera basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor enhances plant cell size, vegetative biomass and reproductive yield

Strategies for improving plant size are critical targets for plant biotechnology to increase vegetative biomass or reproductive yield. To improve biomass production, a codon-optimized helix–loop–helix transcription factor (VvCEB1 opt) from wine grape was overexpressed in Arabidopsis thaliana resulting in significantly increased leaf number, leaf and rosette area, fresh weight and dry weight. Cell size, but typically not cell number, was increased in all tissues resulting in increased vegetative biomass and reproductive organ size, number and seed yield. Ionomic analysis of leaves revealed the VvCEB1 opt-overexpressing plants had significantly elevated, K, S and Mo contents relative to control lines. Increased K content likely drives increased osmotic potential within cells leading to greater cellular growth and expansion. To understand the mechanistic basis of VvCEB1 opt action, one transgenic line was genotyped using RNA-Seq mRNA expression profiling and revealed a novel transcriptional reprogramming network with significant changes in mRNA abundance for genes with functions in delayed flowering, pathogen–defence responses, iron homeostasis, vesicle-mediated cell wall formation and auxin-mediated signalling and responses. Direct testing of VvCEB1 opt-overexpressing plants showed that they had significantly elevated auxin content and a significantly increased number of lateral leaf primordia within meristems relative to controls, confirming that cell expansion andmore » organ number proliferation were likely an auxin-mediated process. VvCEB1 opt overexpression in Nicotiana sylvestris also showed larger cells, organ size and biomass demonstrating the potential applicability of this innovative strategy for improving plant biomass and reproductive yield in crops.« less
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  1. Univ. of Nevada, Reno, NV (United States). Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Biosciences Division
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; SC0008834
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Plant Biotechnology Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Plant Biotechnology Journal; Journal ID: ISSN 1467-7644
Society for Experimental Biology; Association of Applied Biology
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor; cell expansion; auxin; delayed flowering; biomass production; Arabidopsis thaliana
OSTI Identifier: