Sucrose-phosphate synthase activity and yield analysis of tomato plants transformed with maize sucrose-phosphate synthase
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Sucrose synthesis is a major element of the interactions between photosynthesis and plant growth and development. Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. UC82B) plants transformed with maize sucrose-phosphate synthase (SPS; EC 22.214.171.124) expressed from either a ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase (Rubisco) small subunit promoter (SSU) or the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter (35S) were used to study effects of increased sucrose synthesis rates on plant growth. The plants were grown in growth chambers, field plots, and open-top chambers. The 35S plants had a 2 to 3-fold increase in young-leaf SPS activity, a 10 to 20-fold increase in young-root SPS activity and no increase in young-fruit SPS activity. The leaf SPS activity in one of the 35S lines fell to control levels by two months of age. The SSU plants had a 4 to 5-fold increase in leaf SPS activity and no significant increase in root or young-fruit SPS activity. One 35S line, which maintained high leaf SPS activity throughout development, yielded 70–80% more than controls at both normal and elevated CO2 in open-top chambers in the field and 20–30% more than controls in two additional field trials. The other 35S line and the two SSU lines either yielded less or did not differ from controls under several growth conditions. Since only one of four transformed lines showed an increase in yield, we can not yet conclude that increased leaf SPS activity leads to increased yield. However, increased leaf SPS activity appears to result in increased fruit sugar content since all three lines with increased leaf SPS usually also had increased fruit sugars.
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