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Overexpression of OsGATA12 regulates chlorophyll content, delays plant senescence and improves rice yield under high density planting.

Lu, Guangwen; Casaretto, José A; Ying, Shan; Mahmood, Kashif; Liu, Fang; Bi, Yong-Mei; Rothstein, Steven J.
Plant Mol Biol; 94(1-2): 215-227, 2017 May.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28342018
Agronomic traits controlling the formation, architecture and physiology of source and sink organs are main determinants of rice productivity. Semi-dwarf rice varieties with low tiller formation but high seed production per panicle and dark green and thick leaves with prolonged source activity are among the desirable traits to further increase the yield potential of rice. Here, we report the functional characterization of a zinc finger transcription factor, OsGATA12, whose overexpression causes increased leaf greenness, reduction of leaf and tiller number, and affects yield parameters. Reduced tillering allowed testing the transgenic plants under high density which resulted in significantly increased yield per area and higher harvest index compared to wild-type. We show that delayed senescence of transgenic plants and the corresponding longer stay-green phenotype is mainly due to increased chlorophyll and chloroplast number. Further, our work postulates that the increased greenness observed in the transgenic plants is due to more chlorophyll synthesis but most significantly to decreased chlorophyll degradation, which is supported by the reduced expression of genes involved in the chlorophyll degradation pathway. In particular we show evidence for the down-regulation of the STAY GREEN RICE gene and in vivo repression of its promoter by OsGATA12, which suggests a transcriptional repression function for a GATA transcription factor for prolonging the onset of senescence in cereals.