Using cDNA-AFLP RNA fingerprinting throughout potato tuber development, we have isolated a transcript-derived fragment (TDF511) with strong homology to plant steroid dehydrogenases. During in vitro tuberization, the abundance profile of the TDF shows close correlation to the process of tuber formation. However, when tuberization is inhibited by the addition of gibberellins (GAs) to the growth medium, the appearance of TDF511 in the fingerprint is delayed, then steadily increases in intensity during later stages of development. TDF511 was used to isolate the corresponding cDNA (CB12). The DNA and deduced amino-acid sequences of the cDNA show high homology to a fruit-ripening gene from tomato, a series of steroid dehydrogenases, and the maize Ts2 gene. A section of the cDNA was cloned in antisense orientation behind a 35S CaMV promoter and transformed into potato. Transgenic plants expressing the antisense gene showed significantly earlier emergence, an increase in height, and longer tuber shape. In vitro tuberization experiments reveal extended stolen lengths in comparison to the controls. The analysis of endogenous GA levels showed that the transgenic antisense plants have elevated levels of biologically active GAs and their respective precursors. We propose that this gene plays a role in the metabolism of plant-growth substances important for tuber life cycle and plant development.
- cdna cloning