Overexpression of a fungal laccase gene induces nondehiscent anthers and morphological changes in flowers of transgenic tobacco
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Laccases play important roles in the development of fruiting bodies and in lignin degradation by basidiomycetes. In this study, we present novel phenotypes of transgenic tobacco plants with a chimeric gene for fungal laccase under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. At the flowering stage, the transgenic plants that produced recombinant laccase had brownish anthers instead of the greenish anthers of wild-type plants. The brownish anthers exhibited male sterility with a nondehiscent phenotype at varying frequencies. The frequency of nondehiscence depended on the temperature at which plants were cultivated and it was higher at 24°C than at 29°C. The cell wall structures of transgenic anther tissues were almost the same as in the wild type, but the stomium was severely deformed, and abnormal components were apparent in cells of the endothecium and epidermis. Furthermore, the pattern of deposition of flavonoids in the transgenic anther epidermis differed from the wild-type pattern. The expression of laccase also induced other phenotypic changes in the flowers of transgenic plants, namely, increased petal number, fused and petaloid stamens, and doubling of floral organs. These results indicate that the ectopic expression of laccase influences various aspects of flower development.
Key wordsLaccase Nondehiscent anther Petaloid stamen Trametes versicolor Transgenic tobacco
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