Expression of bacterial glutamine synthetase gene in Arabidopsis thaliana increases the plant biomass and level of nitrogen utilization
Changes in expression of glutamine synthetase (GS) have effect on plant nitrogen metabolism. In order to improve nitrogen use efficiency, several attempts at over-expressing GS II genes in plants have been previously undertaken, however few GSI and III genes are found such application. In this study, two GS I genes were cloned from bacterial strains and were transformed into Arabidopsis thaliana. Expression of the genes was confirmed under both mRNA and protein levels. Phenotypic studies revealed that all transgenic Arabidopsis lines showed enhanced fresh weight (12%) and dry weight (13%) compared with the wild-type plants at two concentrations of nitrate supplies. Further biochemical characterization confirmed that the transgenic lines had higher total nitrogen content (increased by 5–8%), soluble protein concentration (increased by 7–11%), total amino acid content (increased by 4–8%), leaf GS activity (enhanced by 8-14%) and free NO3−concentration (increased by 8–16%) compared to wild type Arabidopsis. This work firstly reported that over-expression of bacterial GS I genes in Arabidopsis resulted in improvement of growth phenotype and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of plant. The bacterial GS genes could be potentially useful in engineering transgenic plants of high NUE.
Key wordsArabidopsis thaliana glutamine synthetase nitrogen use efficiency transgenic phenotype
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