Introduction of the rice CYP714D1 gene into Populus inhibits expression of its homologous genes and promotes growth, biomass production and xylem fibre length in transgenic trees

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The rice (Oryza sativa) OsCYP714D1 gene (also known as EUI) encodes a cytochrome P450 monooxygenase which functions as a gibberellin (GA)-deactivating enzyme, catalysing 16α, 17-epoxidation of non-13-hydroxylated GAs. To understand whether it would also reduce the production of active GAs and depress the growth rate in transgenic trees, we constitutively expressed OsCYP714D1 in the aspen hybrid clone Populus alba×P. berolinensis. Unexpectedly, ectopic expression of OsCYP714D1 in aspen positively regulated the biosynthesis of GAs, including the active GA1 and GA4, leading to promotion of the growth rate and biomass production in transgenic plants. Transgenic lines which showed significant expression of the introduced OsCYP714D1 gene accumulated a higher GA level and produced more numerous and longer xylem fibres than did the wild-type plants. Quantitative real-time PCR indicated that transcription of most homologous PtCYP714 genes was suppressed in these transgenic lines. Therefore, the promoted GA and biomass production in transgenic trees constitutively expressing OsCYP714D1 is probably attributed to the down-regulated expression of the native PtCYP714 homologues involved in the GA biosynthesis pathway, although their precise functions are yet to be further elucidated.

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