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Plant Physiol. 2001 Oct;127(2):505-16.

Effects of P(SAG12)-IPT gene expression on development and senescence in transgenic lettuce.

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Plant Science Division, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, United Kingdom.


An ipt gene under control of the senescence-specific SAG12 promoter from Arabidopsis (P(SAG12)-IPT) significantly delayed developmental and postharvest leaf senescence in mature heads of transgenic lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. cv Evola) homozygous for the transgene. Apart from retardation of leaf senescence, mature, 60-d-old plants exhibited normal morphology with no significant differences in head diameter or fresh weight of leaves and roots. Induction of senescence by nitrogen starvation rapidly reduced total nitrogen, nitrate, and growth of transgenic and azygous (control) plants, but chlorophyll was retained in the lower (outer) leaves of transgenic plants. Harvested P(SAG12)-IPT heads also retained chlorophyll in their lower leaves. During later development (bolting and preflowering) of transgenic plants, the decrease in chlorophyll, total protein, and Rubisco content in leaves was abolished, resulting in a uniform distribution of these components throughout the plants. Homozygous P(SAG12)-IPT lettuce plants showed a slight delay in bolting (4-6 d), a severe delay in flowering (4-8 weeks), and premature senescence of their upper leaves. These changes correlated with significantly elevated concentrations of cytokinin and hexoses in the upper leaves of transgenic plants during later stages of development, implicating a relationship between cytokinin and hexose concentrations in senescence.

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