Overexpression of an Incw2 gene in endosperm improved yield-related traits in maize


High yield is an eternal goal for crop breeding. Incw2 protein is the enzyme in the metabolic pathway that mobilizes photoassimilated sucrose into numerous reactions of the developing plant seeds, associated with grain yield. In the research, an Incw2 gene driven by 27 kD zein promoter was specifically over-expressed in the endosperm cells of maize inbred line 18-599R by Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation. PCR assay displayed that ten of the regenerated plants were integrated with the target gene. By semi-quantitative RT-PCR and invertase activity analysis, five of them showed significantly higher expression of Incw2 transcripts and enzyme activity compared to the wild type. Among them, line 1 stood out because it possessed the highest level of Incw2 mRNA and enzyme activity. The effects of Incw2 over-expression were reflected in the increased chlorophyll content, improved pho¬tosynthesis and delay of leaf senility. In addition, yield-related traits such as ear length, ear diameter, ear weight, grain weight per ear, and hundred-kernel weight appeared to be improved in three of the transformants compared with the wild type. The grain weight per plant of line1 was increased by nearly 10%. The results collectively indicate that it is potentially practical to enhance kernel yield of maize by overexpression of Incw2 in endosperm.


maize; Incw2 gene; overexpression in endosperm; Yield-related traits

Full Text:


Maydica - A journal devoted to maize and allied species

ISSN: 2279-8013