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PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23466. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023466. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

Transcriptome analysis of potato leaves expressing the trehalose-6-phosphate synthase 1 gene of yeast.

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Agricultural Biotechnology Center, Gödöllő, Hungary.


Transgenic lines of the potato cultivar White Lady expressing the trehalose-6-phosphate synthase (TPS1) gene of yeast exhibit improved drought tolerance, but grow slower and have a lower carbon fixation rate and stomatal density than the wild-type. To understand the molecular basis of this phenomenon, we have compared the transcriptomes of wild-type and TPS1-transgenic plants using the POCI microarray containing 42,034 potato unigene probes. We show that 74 and 25 genes were up-, and down-regulated, respectively, in the mature source leaves of TPS1-transgenic plants when compared with the wild-type. The differentially regulated genes were assigned into 16 functional groups. All of the seven genes, which were assigned into carbon fixation and metabolism group, were up-regulated, while about 42% of the assigned genes are involved in transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation. Expression of genes encoding a 14-3-3 regulatory protein, and four transcription factors were down-regulated in the TPS1-transgenic leaves. To verify the microarray results, we used RNA gel blot analysis to examine the expression of eight genes and found that the RNA gel blot and microarray data correlated in each case. Using the putative Arabidopsis orthologs of the assigned potato sequences we have identified putative transcription binding sites in the promoter region of the differentially regulated genes, and putative protein-protein interactions involving some of the up- and down-regulated genes. We have also demonstrated that starch content is lower, while malate, inositol and maltose contents are higher in the TPS1-transgenic than in the wild-type leaves. Our results suggest that a complex regulatory network, involving transcription factors and other regulatory proteins, underpins the phenotypic alterations we have observed previously in potato when expressing the TPS1 gene of yeast.

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