Background: As an Agrobacterium tumefaciens T-DNA oncogene, T-6b induces the development of tumors and the enation syndrome in vegetative tissues of transgenic plants. Most of these effects are related to increases in soluble sugar contents. To verify the potential roles of T-6b in the distribution of carbon in developing seeds, not in vegetative tissues, we fused an endosperm-specific promoter to the T-6b gene for expression in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants.
Results: The expression of T-6b in reproductive organs did not induce the development of the enation syndrome, and moreover, promoted endosperm expansion, which increased the total seed biomass by more than 10%. Additionally, T-6b also increased oil content in mature seeds by more than 10% accompanied with the decrease of starch and mucilage content at the same time.
Conclusions: T-6b enhances seed biomass and helps oil biosynthesis but not polysaccharides in reproductive organs without disturbing vegetative growth and development. Our findings suggest T-6b may be very useful for increasing oil production in biodiesel plants.
Keywords: Biosynthesis; Endosperm expression; Lipid; Mucilage; Starch; T-6b.