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Overexpression of a Novel Apple NAC Transcription Factor Gene, MdNAC1, Confers the Dwarf Phenotype in Transgenic Apple (Malus domestica)

Dongfeng Jia, Xiaoqing Gong, Mingjun Li, Chao Li, Tingting Sun, Fengwang Ma.

Genes

DOI:10.3390/genes9050229

 

 

Abstract: Plant height is an important trait for fruit trees. The dwarf characteristic is commonly associated with highly efficient fruit production, a major objective when breeding for apple (Malus domestica). We studied the function of MdNAC1, a novel NAC transcription factor (TF) gene in apple related to plant dwarfing. Localized primarily to the nucleus, MdNAC1 has transcriptional activity in yeast cells. Overexpression of the gene results in a dwarf phenotype in transgenic apple plants. Their reduction in size is manifested by shorter, thinner stems and roots, and a smaller leaf area. The transgenics also have shorter internodes and fewer cells in the stems. Levels of endogenous abscisic acid (ABA) and brassinosteroid (BR) are lower in the transgenic plants, and expression is decreased for genes involved in the biosynthesis of those phytohormones. All of these findings demonstrate that MdNAC1 has a role in plants dwarfism, probably by regulating ABA and BR production.