Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 90, Issue 1–2, pp 33–47 | Cite as

Arabidopsis KLU homologue GmCYP78A72 regulates seed size in soybean

  • Baotian Zhao
  • Aihua Dai
  • Haichao Wei
  • Suxin Yang
  • Baoshan Wang
  • Ning Jiang
  • Xianzhong Feng


Soybean (Glycine max) is one of the most important crops in the world, and its yield is largely determined by grain weight and grain size. However, the genes that regulate soybean seed size have not been identified. CYP78A, which is highly conserved within terrestrial plants, regulates organ development. In Arabidopsis, AtCYP78A5/KLU has been shown to determine seed size. In the present study, soybean CYP78A72 (GmCYP78A72), one of the orthologs of KLU, was over-expressed in both Arabidopsis and soybean to examine its function in plant development. GmCYP78A72 heterologous expression in Arabidopsis resulted in enlarged sepals, petals, seeds and carpel. Over-expression of GmCYP78A72 in soybean resulted in increased pea size, which is an extremely desirable trait for enhancing productivity. Moreover, knock-down of GmCYP78A72 does not reduce grain size. However, silencing of GmCYP78A57, GmCYP78A70 and GmCYP78A72 genes in triplet reduces the seed size significantly indicating functional redundancy of these three GmCYP78A genes. In conclusion, we investigated the role of CYP78A in soybean seed regulation, and our strategy can be effectively used to engineer large seed traits in soybean varieties as well as other crops.


GmCYP78A72 Soybean Seed size CYP78A 



We thank Stefan Cerbin (Michigan State University) for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 31171571 and 91131008) and the China National Transgenic Major Program (Grant No. 2014ZX0800943B) and was also supported by One Hundred Person Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to be declared.

Supplementary material

11103_2015_392_MOESM1_ESM.tif (2.6 mb)
Figs. 1. Expression pattern of GmCYP78A in soybean. Total RNA was separately extracted from root, root nodules, inflorescence (3-5 mm young inflorescence), petals and sepals, leaf bud, mature leaves and tender pods (5 mm green pod) of soybean ecotype Williams82. We designated GmCYP78A70 expression in the mature leaves as the benchmark (a value of 1)
11103_2015_392_MOESM2_ESM.tif (1002 kb)
Figs. 2. Seed number of transgenic plants of Arabidopsis
11103_2015_392_MOESM3_ESM.tif (1.4 mb)
Figs. 3. Pedigree of GmCYP78A72 over-expression transgenic plant. +: PCR positive; ↑: Seed size increased
11103_2015_392_MOESM4_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (DOCX 15 kb)
11103_2015_392_MOESM5_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 5 (DOCX 18 kb)
11103_2015_392_MOESM6_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 6 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baotian Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aihua Dai
    • 2
  • Haichao Wei
    • 2
  • Suxin Yang
    • 2
  • Baoshan Wang
    • 1
  • Ning Jiang
    • 3
  • Xianzhong Feng
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Life ScienceShandong Normal UniversityJinanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Soybean Molecular Design Breeding, Northeast Institute of Geography and AgroecologyChinese Academy of SciencesChangchunPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of HorticultureMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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