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CRISPR/Cas9 targeted mutagenesis of SlLBD40, a lateral organ boundaries domain transcription factor, enhances drought tolerance in tomato

The LATERAL ORGAN BOUNDARIES DOMAIN (LBD)-containing genes are plant-specific genes that play important roles in lateral organ development. In this study, we identified LBD40 (Solyc02g085910), which belongs to subfamily II of the LBD family of genes in tomato. LBD40 was highly expressed in roots and fruit. LBD40 expression was significantly induced by PEG and salt.

Lun Liu, Jialong Zhang, Jiayi Xu, Yafei Li, Luqin Guo, Zhirong Wang, Xichun Zhang, Bing Zhao, Yang-Dong Guo, Na Zhang.

PLANT SCIENCE, Volume 301, December 2020, 110683

Abstract

The LATERAL ORGAN BOUNDARIES DOMAIN (LBD)-containing genes are plant-specific genes that play important roles in lateral organ development. In this study, we identified LBD40 (Solyc02g085910), which belongs to subfamily II of the LBD family of genes in tomato. LBD40 was highly expressed in roots and fruit. LBD40 expression was significantly induced by PEG and salt. Moreover, SlLBD40 expression was induced by methyl jasmonate treatment, while SlLBD40 expression could not be induced in the jasmonic acid-insensitive1 (jai1) mutant or MYC2-silenced plants, in which jasmonic acid (JA) signaling was disrupted. These findings demonstrate that SlLBD40 expression was dependent on JA signaling and that it might be downstream of SlMYC2, which is the master transcription factor in the JA signal transduction pathway. Overexpressing and CRISPR/Cas9 mediated knockout transgenic tomato plants were generated to explore SlLBD40 function. The drought tolerance test showed that two SlLBD40 knockout lines wilted slightly, while SlLBD40 overexpressing plants suffered severe wilting. The statistical water loss rate and midday leaf water potential also confirmed that knockout of SlLBD40 improved the water-holding ability of tomato under drought conditions. Taken together, our study demonstrates that SlLBD40, involved in JA signaling, was a negative regulator of drought tolerance and that knockout of SlLBD40 enhanced drought tolerance in tomato. This study also provides a novel function of SlLBD40, which belongs to subfamily II of LBD genes.

 

See: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168945220302892#!

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