Altered morphology in transgenic tobacco plants that overproduce cytokinins in specific tissues and organs

Dev Biol. 1992 Oct;153(2):386-95. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(92)90123-x.


An auxin-inducible bidirectional promoter from the soybean SAUR gene locus was fused to a reporter gene in one direction and a cytokinin biosynthetic gene in the opposite direction and the expression of these fused genes was examined in transgenic tobacco. The Escherichia coli uidA gene, which encodes the enzyme beta-glucuronidase (GUS), was used as the reporter gene and the Agrobacterium tumefaciens ipt gene, which encodes the enzyme isopentenyl transferase, was used as the cytokinin biosynthetic gene. These constructs allowed the overproduction of cytokinins in tobacco in a tissue- and organ-specific manner. Localized overproduction of cytokinins was monitored using the GUS reporter gene and measured by an ELISA assay. The tissue- and organ-specific overproduction of cytokinins produced a number of morphological and physiological changes, including stunting, loss of apical dominance, reduction in root initiation and growth, either acceleration or prolonged delayed senescence in leaves depending on the growth conditions, adventitious shoot formation from unwounded leaf veins and petioles, altered nutrient distribution, and abnormal tissue development in stems. While some of these morphological changes result directly from the localized overproduction of cytokinins, other changes probably result from the mobilization of plant nutrients to tissues rich in cytokinins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Cytokinins / biosynthesis
  • Cytokinins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phenotype
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Sucrose / metabolism
  • Tobacco / genetics*
  • Tobacco / metabolism
  • Transfection


  • Amino Acids
  • Cytokinins
  • Sucrose