, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 281-291
Date: 29 Nov 2008

Effects of SAG12-ipt expression on cytokinin production, growth and senescence of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) under heat stress

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The study was conducted to determine the effects of expression of a transgene encoding adenine isopentenyl transferase (ipt), which controls cytokinin synthesis, on growth and leaf senescence of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.), subjected to heat stress. Creeping bentgrass (cv. Penncross) was transformed with ipt ligated to a senescence-activated promoter (SAG12). Eight SAG12-ipt transgenic lines exhibiting desirable turf quality and a transgenic control line (transformed with the empty vector) were evaluated for morphological and physiological changes under normal growth temperature (20°C) and after 14 days of heat stress (35°C) in growth chambers. Six of the SAG12-ipt lines developed more tillers than the control line during establishment under normal growth temperature of 20°C. Following 14 days of heat stress, four of the SAG12-ipt lines had increased 65–83% of roots and for all six SAG12-ipt lines root elongation continued, whereas root production ceased and total root length decreased for the control line. Root isopentenyl adenine (iPA) content increased 2.5–3.5 times in five of the SAG12-ipt lines, whereas in the control line iPA decreased 20% after 14 days at 35°C. Total zeatin riboside (ZR) content was maintained at the original level or increased in five of the SAG12-ipt lines, whereas in the control line ZR decreased under heat stress. Our results suggest expression of SAG12-ipt in creeping bentgrass stimulated tiller formation and root production, and delayed leaf senescence under heat stress, suggesting a role for cytokinins in regulating cool-season grass tolerance to heat stress.