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The STENOFOLIA gene from Medicago alters leaf width, flowering time and chlorophyll content in transgenic wheat

Liu, Meiyan, Lei, Lei, Miao, Fang, Powers, Carol, Zhang, Xiaoyu, Deng, Jungpeng, Tadege, Million, Carver, Brett F., Yan, Liuling
Plant biotechnology journal 2018 v.16 no.1 pp. 186-196
DNA, Medicago, Triticum aestivum, amino acids, chlorophyll, cultivars, flowering date, genes, genetic analysis, hard red winter wheat, hybrids, leaf development, leaves, pleiotropy, progeny, proteins, transgenic plants, yeasts
Molecular genetic analyses revealed that the WUSCHEL‐related homeobox (WOX) gene superfamily regulates several programs in plant development. Many different mechanisms are reported to underlie these alterations. The WOX family member STENOFOLIA (STF) is involved in leaf expansion in the eudicot Medicago truncutula. Here, we report that when this gene was ectopically expressed in a locally adapted hard red winter wheat cultivar (Triticum aestivum), the transgenic plants showed not only widened leaves but also accelerated flowering and increased chlorophyll content. These desirable traits were stably inherited in the progeny plants. STF binds to wheat genes that have the (GA)ₙ/(CT)ₙ DNA cis element, regardless of sequences flanking the DNA repeats, suggesting a mechanism for its pleiotropic effects. However, the amino acids between position 91 and 262 in the STF protein that were found to bind with the (GA)ₙ motif have no conserved domain with any other GAGA‐binding proteins in animals or plants. We also found that STF interacted with a variety of proteins in wheat in yeast 2 hybrid assays. We conclude that the eudicot STF gene binds to (GA)ₙ/(CT)ₙ DNA elements and can be used to regulate leaf width, flowering time and chlorophyll content in monocot wheat.