Cytokinin profiles of AtCKX2-overexpressing potato plants and the impact of altered cytokinin homeostasis on tuberization in vitro

Raspor M.*, Motyka V.*, Žižková E., Dobrev P.I., Trávníčková A., Zdravković-Korać S., Simonović A., Ninković S., Dragićević I.C. (*contributed equally)

Keywords: Bioactive cytokinins, cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase (CKX), in vitro, potato, transgenic, tuberization
Abstract: Genes encoding cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase (CKX) enzymes have been used lately to study cytokinin homeostasis in a variety of plant species. In this study AtCKX2-overexpressing potato plants were engineered and grown in vitro as a model system to investigate the effects of altered cytokinin levels on tuber formation and tuber size. Protein extracts from shoots and roots of transformed potato plants exhibited higher CKX activity compared to control plants. Total endogenous cytokinin levels were generally not decreased in AtCKX2 overexpressors. However, levels of bioactive cytokinins were markedly lowered, which was accompanied by increased levels of O- and N-glucosides in some transgenic lines. The AtCKX2-overexpressing plants displayed reduced shoot growth but other symptoms of the ‘‘cytokinin deficiency syndrome’’ were not recorded. The transgenic plants were able to produce tubers in noninducing conditions. In inducing conditions they developed larger tubers than control. Tubers were also formed on a greater portion of the analyzed AtCKX2 plants, but with a lower number of tubers per plant compared to control. Taken together, our data suggest that cytokinins cannot be regarded simply as positive or negative regulators of tuberization, at least in vitro. Interactions with other plant hormones that play an important role in control of tuberization, such as gibberellins, should be further studied in detail.
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IEB authors: Petre I. Dobrev, Václav Motyka, Alena Trávníčková, Eva Pokorná