Expression of the Rice Arginase Gene OsARG in Cotton Influences the Morphology and Nitrogen Transition of Seedlings

PLoS One. 2015 Nov 3;10(11):e0141530. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141530. eCollection 2015.


Arginase is the only enzyme capable of producing urea in plants. This enzyme also contributes to many important biological functions during plant growth and development, such as seed development, root development and plant nitrogen using. The unique rice arginase gene OsARG is known to affect nitrogen use efficiency and is also associated with higher yields in rice. In this study, we transformed OsARG into upland cotton R18 by Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation and analyzed the function of OsARG in transgenic cotton. Two independent OsARG expression transgenic cotton lines, ARG-26 and ARG-38, were obtained via transformation. Southern blot analysis indicated that two copies and one copy of the OsARG gene were integrated into the ARG-26 and ARG-38 genomes, respectively. Enzyme activity and RNA transcription analysis revealed that the OsARG gene is highly expressed in cotton. The nitric oxide content and the morphology of ARG-26 and ARG-38 seedlings were both affected by expression of the OsARG gene. Field experiments indicated that the polyamine and nitrogen content increased by more than two-fold in the T3 generation plants of the transgenic cotton lines ARG-26-2, ARG-26-7, ARG-38-8, and ARG-38-11, as compared with the control plants. After harvesting cotton fibers grown in field conditions, we analyzed the quality of fiber and found that the fiber length was increased in the transgenic lines. The average cotton fiber length for all of the transgenic cotton lines was two millimeters longer than the fibers of the control plants; the average cotton fiber lengths were 31.94 mm, 32.00 mm, 32.68 mm and 32.84 mm in the ARG-26ARG-26-2, ARG-26-7, ARG-38-8 and ARG-38-11 lines, respectively, but the average fiber length of the control plants was 29.36mm. Our results indicate that the OsARG gene could potentially be used to improve cotton fiber length traits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arginase / biosynthesis*
  • Arginase / genetics
  • Gossypium / enzymology*
  • Gossypium / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Oryza / enzymology
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins* / biosynthesis
  • Plant Proteins* / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / enzymology*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Seedlings / enzymology*
  • Seedlings / genetics


  • Plant Proteins
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Arginase
  • Nitrogen

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31301373).