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Plant J. 2009 Mar;57(5):883-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03733.x. Epub 2008 Oct 29.

Systematic approaches to using the FOX hunting system to identify useful rice genes.

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1
RIKEN Plant Science Center, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.

Abstract

Ectopic gene expression, or the gain-of-function approach, has the advantage that once the function of a gene is known the gene can be transferred to many different plants by transformation. We previously reported a method, called FOX hunting, that involves ectopic expression of Arabidopsis full-length cDNAs in Arabidopsis to systematically generate gain-of-function mutants. This technology is most beneficial for generating a heterologous gene resource for analysis of useful plant gene functions. As an initial model we generated more than 23,000 independent Arabidopsis transgenic lines that expressed rice fl-cDNAs (Rice FOX Arabidopsis lines). The short generation time and rapid and efficient transformation frequency of Arabidopsis enabled the functions of the rice genes to be analyzed rapidly. We screened rice FOX Arabidopsis lines for alterations in morphology, photosynthesis, element accumulation, pigment accumulation, hormone profiles, secondary metabolites, pathogen resistance, salt tolerance, UV signaling, high light tolerance, and heat stress tolerance. Some of the mutant phenotypes displayed by rice FOX Arabidopsis lines resulted from the expression of rice genes that had no homologs in Arabidopsis. This result demonstrated that rice fl-cDNAs could be used to introduce new gene functions in Arabidopsis. Furthermore, these findings showed that rice gene function could be analyzed by employing Arabidopsis as a heterologous host. This technology provides a framework for the analysis of plant gene function in a heterologous host and of plant improvement by using heterologous gene resources.

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