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Reporter-based forward genetic screen to identify bundle sheath anatomy mutants in A. thaliana

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/03/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>The Plant Journal
Issue number5
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)984-995
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/11/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The evolution of C(4) photosynthesis proceeded stepwise with each small step increasing the fitness of the plant. An important pre-condition for the introduction of a functional C(4) cycle is the photosynthetic activation of the C(3) bundle sheath by increasing its volume and organelle number. Therefore, to engineer C(4) photosynthesis into existing C(3) crops, information about genes that control the bundle sheath cell size and organelle content is needed. However, very little information is known about the genes that could be manipulated to create a more C(4) -like bundle sheath. To this end, an ethylmethanesulfonate (EMS)-based forward genetic screen was established in the Brassicaceae C(3 ) species Arabidopsis thaliana. To ensure a high-throughput primary screen, the bundle sheath cells of A. thaliana were labeled using a luciferase (LUC68) or by a chloroplast-targeted green fluorescent protein (sGFP) reporter using a bundle sheath specific promoter. The signal strengths of the reporter genes were used as a proxy to search for mutants with altered bundle sheath anatomy. Here, we show that our genetic screen predominantly identified mutants that were primarily affected in the architecture of the vascular bundle, and led to an increase in bundle sheath volume. By using a mapping-by-sequencing approach the genomic segments that contained mutated candidate genes were identified.