Improved wheat growth and yield by delayed leaf senescence using developmentally regulated expression of a cytokinin biosynthesis gene Academic Article uri icon


  • Delaying leaf senescence in plants, especially under water stress conditions, can help to maintain the remobilization of stored nutrients in source-sink relationships, thus leading to improved crop yields. Leaf senescence can be delayed by plant hormones such as cytokinin. Here, the Isopentenyl transferase (IPT) gene, encoding a cytokinin biosynthesis enzyme, driven by a modified AtMYB32xs promoter was transformed into wheat. Transgenic wheat plants exhibited delayed leaf senescence, retaining chlorophyll for longer under controlled environment conditions. Selected independent transgenic events and their corresponding nulls were grown under field conditions for two consecutive years under well-watered and water stress treatments using automated rainout shelters. Three independent transgenic events had improved canopy green cover, lower canopy temperatures, and higher leaf water potential than their respective non-transgenic nulls, with no abnormality in morphology and phenology. Increased grain yield was observed in transgenic events under both water treatments, with the yield increase more pronounced under water stress (26-42%). These results have shown that delayed leaf senescence using the chimeric transgene AtMYB32xs-p::IPT can be a useful strategy to achieve grain yield gains in wheat and potentially other crops for sustainable food production.


publication date

  • 2019