Title:
TRANSCRIPTION FACTORS FOR INCREASING YIELD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is directed to transgenic plants transformed with nucleic acids that encode a plant transcription factor that increases the transgenic plant's size and yield and/or delays flowering in the plant, and methods of using and producing the transgenic plants.



Inventors:
Creelman, Robert A. (Castro Valley, CA, US)
Adam, Luc J. (Hayward, CA, US)
Riechmann, Jose Luis (Barcelona, ES)
Heard, Jacqueline E. (Wenham, MA, US)
Pineda, Omaira (Vero Beach, FL, US)
Jiang, Cai-zhong (Davis, CA, US)
Ratcliffe, Oliver J. (Hayward, CA, US)
Reuber, Lynne T. (San Mateo, CA, US)
Application Number:
14/811592
Publication Date:
01/07/2016
Filing Date:
07/28/2015
Assignee:
MENDEL BIOTECHNOLOGY, INC.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
800/278, 800/289, 800/290, 800/298, 800/306, 800/307, 800/309, 800/312, 800/317, 800/317.1, 800/317.2, 800/317.3, 800/317.4, 800/320, 800/320.1, 800/320.2, 800/320.3
International Classes:
C12N15/82; C07K14/415
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAUM, STUART F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DENTONS US LLP (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A transgenic plant having an improved trait relative to a control plant, wherein: the transgenic plant comprises a recombinant polynucleotide that encodes a polypeptide; wherein the polypeptide has an amino acid identity to the full length of a listed polypeptide sequence; or the polypeptide comprises a conserved domain has an amino acid identity to a conserved domain of a listed polypeptide sequence; and the listed polypeptide sequence is selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOs: 110, 112, 116, 120, 124, 128, 131, 135, 139, 143, 147, 151, 155, 159, 163, 167, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187, 191, 195, 199, 203, 207, 211, 215, 219, 223, 227, 231, 235, 239, 243, 247, 251, 255, 259, 263, 267, 271, 275, 280, 284, 288, 292, 296, 299, 303, 306, 309, 313, 317, 321, 325, 329, 333, 337, 341, 345, 349, 353, 357, 361, 365, 369, 373, 377, 381, 385, 389, 393, 397, 401, 404, 406, 409, 413, 416, 419, 422, 425, 428, 431, 435, 439, 443, 447, 451, 454, 458, 462, 465, 468, 471, 475, 478, 482, 485, 489, 493, 497, 501, 505, 509, 512, 515, 519, 522, 526, 530, 534, 538, 542, 546, 550, 553, 557, 561, 565, 568, 571, 574, 577, 581, 585, 588, 591, 594, 597, 601, 605, 609, 613, 616, 620, 624, 628, 632, 636, 640, 644, 648, 652, 656, 660, 664, 667, 671, 674, 678, 682, 686, 689, 692, 696, 700, 704, 708, 712, 715, 719, 723, 727, 731, 734, 738, 741, 745, 749, 752, 756, 760, 762, 766, 770, 774, 778, 782, 786, 789, 793, 797, 801, 805, 809, 813, 816, 819, 823, 827, 831, 835, 839, 843, 847, 851, 855, 859, 863, 867, 871, 874, 878, 882, 886, 890, 894, 898, 901, 905, 909, 913, 917, 921, 925, 929, 933, 937, 941, 945, 949, 953, 957, 960, 963, 966, 970, 973, 976, 980, 984, 988, 992, 995, 999, 1003, 1007, 1011, 1015, 1019, 1023, 1027, 1031, 1037, 1041, 1045, 1049, 1052, 1056, 1060, 1064, 1067, 1071, 1075, 1078, 1081, 1085, 1089, 1093, 1097, 1101, 1104, 1108, 1112, 1116, 1120, 1123, 1126, 1130, 1134, 1138, 1142, 1145, 1148, 1151, 1154, 1157, 1161, 1165, 1169, 1173, 1177, 1181, 1185, 1188, 1192, 1195, 1199, 1203, 1207, 1211, 1215, 1219, 1222, 1226, 1229, 1233, 1236, 1240, 1243, 1247, 1251, 1254, 1258, 1262, 1266, 1269, 1273, 1277, 1281, 1285, 1289, 1293, 1297, 1300, 1304, 1308, 1311, 1314, 1318, 1322, 1326, 1330, 1334, 1338, 1342, 1346, 1350, 1354, 1358, 1361, 1365, 1369, 1372, 1376, 1380, 1384, 1388, 1392, 1396, 1400, 1404, 1408, 1411, 1415, 1419, 1423, 1427, 1431, 1435, 1439, 1443, 1446, 1449, 1452, 1455, 1459, 1463, 1467, 1470, 1474, 1477, 1481, 1488, 1492, 1495, 1499, 1503, 1507, 1511, 1515, 1519, 1522, 1526, 1530, 1533, 1537, 1541, 1545, 1549, 1553, 1557, 1561, 1565, 1568, 1572, 1576, 1579, 1583, 1586, 1589, 1593, 1596, 1598, 1602, 1604, 1608, 1611, 1614, 1617, 1620, 1624, 1628, 1632, 1636, 1640, 1645, 1648, 1652, 1656, 1660, 1664, 1668, 1672, 1676, 1680, 1684, 1688, 1692, 1696, 1700, 1704, 1707, 1711, 1715, 1719, 1722, 1726, 1729, 1733, 1737, 1741, 1745, 1749, 1753, 1757, 1761, 1765, 1769, 1773, 1777, 1781, 1785, 1789, 1793, 1796, 1800, 1803, 1806, 1809, 1812, 1816, 1820, 1824, 1827, 1831, 1835, 1838, 1841, 1844, 1846, 1850, 1853, 1857, 1861, 1865, 1869, 1873, 1877, 1881, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1897, 1901, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1935, 1939, 1943, 1949, 1957, 1961, 1964, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1977, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998; and 1999-2007; wherein the amino acid identity is selected from the group consisting of at least 46%, or at least 50%, at least 53%, at least 56%, at least 61%, at least 80%, at least 85%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 97%, or about 100%; wherein the altered trait is selected from the group consisting of: greater yield, larger size, larger seeds, increased root mass, reduced trichome number, increased trichome density and size, darker green color, increased rate of photosynthesis, later senescence, more tolerance to water deprivation, more tolerance to hyperosmotic stress, more drought tolerance, less sensitive to abscisic acid, more heat tolerance, more tolerance to salt, more tolerance to glucose, more tolerance to mannitol, more cold tolerance, more tolerance to nitrogen-limited conditions, early flowering, delayed flowering, more resistance to disease, more resistance to a fungal disease, more resistance to Botrytis, more resistance to Erysiphe, more resistance to Sclerotinia, increased shade tolerance, more seed protein, and more seed oil relative to the control plant that does contain the recombinant polynucleotide.

2. The transgenic plant of claim 1, wherein the recombinant polynucleotide comprises a constitutive, inducible, or tissue-specific promoter.

3. The transgenic plant of claim 1, wherein the transgenic plant is a transgenic seed comprising the conserved domain of claim 1.

4. The transgenic plant of claim 1, wherein said transgenic plant is a Leguminosae, alfalfa, soybean, clover, Umbelliferae, carrot, celery, parsnip, Cruciferae, cabbage, radish, rapeseed, broccoli, Curcurbitaceae, melon, cucumber, Gramineae, wheat, corn, rice, barley, millet, Solanaceae, potato, tomato, tobacco, or pepper plant.

5. A method for producing and identifying a transgenic plant having an altered trait relative to a control plant, the method steps comprising the steps of: (a) introducing into a target plant a recombinant polynucleotide that encodes a polypeptide; wherein the polypeptide has an amino acid identity to the full length of a listed polypeptide sequence; or the polypeptide comprises a conserved domain has an amino acid identity to a conserved domain of a listed polypeptide sequence; and the listed polypeptide sequence is selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOs: 110, 112, 116, 120, 124, 128, 131, 135, 139, 143, 147, 151, 155, 159, 163, 167, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187, 191,195,199,203,207,211,215,219,223,227,231,235,239,243,247,251,255,259,263,267, 271, 275, 280, 284, 288, 292, 296, 299, 303, 306, 309, 313, 317, 321, 325, 329, 333, 337, 341, 345, 349, 353, 357, 361, 365, 369, 373, 377, 381, 385, 389, 393, 397, 401, 404, 406, 409, 413, 416, 419, 422, 425, 428, 431, 435, 439, 443, 447, 451, 454, 458, 462, 465, 468, 471, 475, 478, 482, 485, 489, 493, 497, 501, 505, 509, 512, 515, 519, 522, 526, 530, 534, 538, 542, 546, 550, 553, 557, 561, 565, 568, 571, 574, 577, 581, 585, 588, 591, 594, 597, 601, 605, 609, 613, 616, 620, 624, 628, 632, 636, 640, 644, 648, 652, 656, 660, 664, 667, 671, 674, 678, 682, 686, 689, 692, 696, 700, 704, 708, 712, 715, 719, 723, 727, 731, 734, 738, 741, 745, 749, 752, 756, 760, 762, 766, 770, 774, 778, 782, 786, 789, 793, 797, 801, 805, 809, 813, 816, 819, 823, 827, 831, 835, 839, 843, 847, 851, 855, 859, 863, 867, 871, 874, 878, 882, 886, 890, 894, 898, 901, 905, 909, 913, 917, 921, 925, 929, 933, 937, 941, 945, 949, 953, 957, 960, 963, 966, 970, 973, 976, 980, 984, 988, 992, 995, 999, 1003, 1007, 1011, 1015, 1019, 1023, 1027, 1031, 1037, 1041, 1045, 1049, 1052, 1056, 1060, 1064, 1067, 1071, 1075, 1078, 1081, 1085, 1089, 1093, 1097, 1101, 1104, 1108, 1112, 1116, 1120, 1123, 1126, 1130, 1134, 1138, 1142, 1145, 1148, 1151, 1154, 1157, 1161, 1165, 1169, 1173, 1177, 1181, 1185, 1188, 1192, 1195, 1199, 1203, 1207, 1211, 1215, 1219, 1222, 1226, 1229, 1233, 1236, 1240, 1243, 1247, 1251, 1254, 1258, 1262, 1266, 1269, 1273, 1277, 1281, 1285, 1289, 1293, 1297, 1300, 1304, 1308, 1311, 1314, 1318, 1322, 1326, 1330, 1334, 1338, 1342, 1346, 1350, 1354, 1358, 1361, 1365, 1369, 1372, 1376, 1380, 1384, 1388, 1392, 1396, 1400, 1404, 1408, 1411, 1415, 1419, 1423, 1427, 1431, 1435, 1439, 1443, 1446, 1449, 1452, 1455, 1459, 1463, 1467, 1470, 1474, 1477, 1481, 1488, 1492, 1495, 1499, 1503, 1507, 1511, 1515, 1519, 1522, 1526, 1530, 1533, 1537, 1541, 1545, 1549, 1553, 1557, 1561, 1565, 1568, 1572, 1576, 1579, 1583, 1586, 1589, 1593, 1596, 1598, 1602, 1604, 1608, 1611, 1614, 1617, 1620, 1624, 1628, 1632, 1636, 1640, 1645, 1648, 1652, 1656, 1660, 1664, 1668, 1672, 1676, 1680, 1684, 1688, 1692, 1696, 1700, 1704, 1707, 1711, 1715, 1719, 1722, 1726, 1729, 1733, 1737, 1741, 1745, 1749, 1753, 1757, 1761, 1765, 1769, 1773, 1777, 1781, 1785, 1789, 1793, 1796, 1800, 1803, 1806, 1809, 1812, 1816, 1820, 1824, 1827, 1831, 1835, 1838, 1841, 1844, 1846, 1850, 1853, 1857, 1861, 1865, 1869, 1873, 1877, 1881, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1897, 1901, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1935, 1939, 1943, 1949, 1957, 1961, 1964, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1977, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998; and 1999-2007; wherein the amino acid identity is selected from the group consisting of at least 46%, or at least 50%, at least 53%, at least 56%, at least 61%, at least 80%, at least 85%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 97%, or about 100%; wherein the altered trait is selected from the group consisting of: greater yield, larger size, larger seeds, increased root mass, reduced trichome number, increased trichome density and size, darker green color, increased rate of photosynthesis, later senescence, more tolerance to water deprivation, more tolerance to hyperosmotic stress, more drought tolerance, less sensitive to abscisic acid, more heat tolerance, more tolerance to salt, more tolerance to glucose, more tolerance to mannitol, more cold tolerance, more tolerance to nitrogen-limited conditions, early flowering, delayed flowering, more resistance to disease, more resistance to a fungal disease, more resistance to Botrytis, more resistance to Erysiphe, more resistance to Sclerotinia, increased shade tolerance, more seed protein, and more seed oil relative to the control plant; and (b) identifying the transgenic plant having the altered trait relative to a control plant that does contain the recombinant polynucleotide.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein said transgenic plant is a Leguminosae, alfalfa, soybean, clover, Umbelliferae, carrot, celery, parsnip, Cruciferae, cabbage, radish, rapeseed, broccoli, Curcurbitaceae, melon, cucumber, Gramineae, wheat, corn, rice, barley, millet, Solanaceae, potato, tomato, tobacco, or pepper plant.

7. The transgenic plant of claim 5, wherein the recombinant polynucleotide comprises a constitutive, inducible, or tissue-specific promoter.

8. The transgenic plant of claim 5, wherein the transgenic plant is a transgenic seed comprising the conserved domain of claim 1.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION INFORMATION

The present patent application is a divisional application of prior U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/977,763, filed Dec. 23, 2010 (pending), which is a divisional of prior U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/479,226, filed Jun. 30, 2006 (now U.S. Pat. No. 7,858,848), which is a continuation-in-part application of prior U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/713,994, filed Nov. 16, 2000 (abandoned), and the present patent application claims the benefit of the following three U.S. provisional patent applications: application Ser. No. 60/166,228 filed Nov. 17, 1999; application Ser. No. 60/197,899, filed Apr. 17, 2000; and application Ser. No. 60/227,439, filed Aug. 22, 2000. The entire contents of each of these applications are hereby incorporated by reference.

JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT

The claimed invention, in the field of functional genomics and the characterization of plant genes for the improvement of plants, was made by or on behalf of Mendel Biotechnology, Inc. and Monsanto Company as a result of activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, said agreement having been in effect on or before the date the claimed invention was made.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of plant biology. More particularly, the present invention pertains to compositions and methods for phenotypically modifying a plant.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Transcription factors can modulate gene expression, either increasing or decreasing (inducing or repressing) the rate of transcription. This modulation results in differential levels of gene expression at various developmental stages, in different tissues and cell types, and in response to different exogenous (e.g., environmental) and endogenous stimuli throughout the life cycle of the organism.

Because transcription factors are key controlling elements of biological pathways, altering the expression levels of one or more transcription factors can change entire biological pathways in an organism. For example, manipulation of the levels of selected transcription factors may result in increased expression of economically useful proteins or metabolic chemicals in plants or to improve other agriculturally relevant characteristics such as to increase yield. Therefore, manipulating transcription factor levels in a plant offers tremendous potential in agricultural biotechnology for modifying a plant's traits such as improved yield from commercially important plant species.

One factor affecting yield is the number of plants that can be grown per acre. For crop species, planting or population density varies from a crop to a crop, from one growing region to another, and from year to year. Using corn as an example, the average prevailing density in 2000 was in the range of 20,000-25,000 plants per acre in Missouri, USA. A desirable higher population density (a measure of yield) would be at least 22,000 plants per acre, and a more desirable higher population density would be at least 28,000 plants per acre, more preferably at least 34,000 plants per acre, and most preferably at least 40,000 plants per acre. The average prevailing densities per acre of a few other examples of crop plants in the USA in the year 2000 were: wheat 1,000,000-1,500,000; rice 650,000-900,000; soybean 150,000-200,000, canola 260,000-350,000, sunflower 17,000-23,000 and cotton 28,000-55,000 plants per acre (Cheikh et al. (2003) U.S. Patent Application No. 20030101479). A desirable higher population density for each of these examples, as well as other valuable species of plants, would be at least 10% higher than the average prevailing density or yield.

The present invention provides novel transcription factors useful for modifying a plant's phenotype in desirable ways.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention pertains to a transgenic plant having that has an improved trait relative to a control plant. The improved trait may include, for example, larger size, larger seeds, greater yield, darker green, increased rate of photosynthesis, more tolerance to osmotic stress, more drought tolerance, more heat tolerance, more salt tolerance, more cold tolerance, more tolerance to low nitrogen, early flowering, delayed flowering, more resistance to disease, more seed protein, and more seed oil relative to the control plant. The transgenic plant will generally comprise an expression vector that comprises a recombinant polynucleotide of the invention, that is, a nucleic acid sequence that encodes a polypeptide sequence that is related to any of SEQ ID NO: 110, 112, 116, 120, 124, 128, 131, 135, 139, 143, 147, 151, 155, 159, 163, 167, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187, 191, 195, 199, 203, 207, 211, 215, 219, 223, 227, 231, 235, 239, 243, 247, 251, 255, 259, 263, 267, 271, 275, 280, 284, 288, 292, 296, 299, 303, 306, 309, 313, 317, 321, 325, 329, 333, 337, 341, 345, 349, 353, 357, 361, 365, 369, 373, 377, 381, 385, 389, 393, 397, 401, 404, 406, 409, 413, 416, 419, 422, 425, 428, 431, 435, 439, 443, 447, 451, 454, 458, 462, 465, 468, 471, 475, 478, 482, 485, 489, 493, 497, 501, 505, 509, 512, 515, 519, 522, 526, 530, 534, 538, 542, 546, 550, 553, 557, 561, 565, 568, 571, 574, 577, 581, 585, 588, 591, 594, 597, 601, 605, 609, 613, 616, 620, 624, 628, 632, 636, 640, 644, 648, 652, 656, 660, 664, 667, 671, 674, 678, 682, 686, 689, 692, 696, 700, 704, 708, 712, 715, 719, 723, 727, 731, 734, 738, 741, 745, 749, 752, 756, 760, 762, 766, 770, 774, 778, 782, 786, 789, 793, 797, 801, 805, 809, 813, 816, 819, 823, 827, 831, 835, 839, 843, 847, 851, 855, 859, 863, 867, 871, 874, 878, 882, 886, 890, 894, 898, 901, 905, 909, 913, 917, 921, 925, 929, 933, 937, 941, 945, 949, 953, 957, 960, 963, 966, 970, 973, 976, 980, 984, 988, 992, 995, 999, 1003, 1007, 1011, 1015, 1019, 1023, 1027, 1031, 1037, 1041, 1045, 1049, 1052, 1056, 1060, 1064, 1067, 1071, 1075, 1078, 1081, 1085, 1089, 1093, 1097, 1101, 1104, 1108, 1112, 1116, 1120, 1123, 1126, 1130, 1134, 1138, 1142, 1145, 1148, 1151, 1154, 1157, 1161, 1165, 1169, 1173, 1177, 1181, 1185, 1188, 1192, 1195, 1199, 1203, 1207, 1211, 1215, 1219, 1222, 1226, 1229, 1233, 1236, 1240, 1243, 1247, 1251, 1254, 1258, 1262, 1266, 1269, 1273, 1277, 1281, 1285, 1289, 1293, 1297, 1300, 1304, 1308, 1311, 1314, 1318, 1322, 1326, 1330, 1334, 1338, 1342, 1346, 1350, 1354, 1358, 1361, 1365, 1369, 1372, 1376, 1380, 1384, 1388, 1392, 1396, 1400, 1404, 1408, 1411, 1415, 1419, 1423, 1427, 1431, 1435, 1439, 1443, 1446, 1449, 1452, 1455, 1459, 1463, 1467, 1470, 1474, 1477, 1481, 1488, 1492, 1495, 1499, 1503, 1507, 1511, 1515, 1519, 1522, 1526, 1530, 1533, 1537, 1541, 1545, 1549, 1553, 1557, 1561, 1565, 1568, 1572, 1576, 1579, 1583, 1586, 1589, 1593, 1596, 1598, 1602, 1604, 1608, 1611, 1614, 1617, 1620, 1624, 1628, 1632, 1636, 1640, 1645, 1648, 1652, 1656, 1660, 1664, 1668, 1672, 1676, 1680, 1684, 1688, 1692, 1696, 1700, 1704, 1707, 1711, 1715, 1719, 1722, 1726, 1729, 1733, 1737, 1741, 1745, 1749, 1753, 1757, 1761, 1765, 1769, 1773, 1777, 1781, 1785, 1789, 1793, 1796, 1800, 1803, 1806, 1809, 1812, 1816, 1820, 1824, 1827, 1831, 1835, 1838, 1841, 1844, 1846, 1850, 1853, 1857, 1861, 1865, 1869, 1873, 1877, 1881, 1885, 1889, 1893, 1897, 1901, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1935, 1939, 1943, 1949, 1957, 1961, 1964, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1977, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998; and 1999-2007. Sequences that are related to the polypeptides listed in the sequence listing will have at least 46%, or at least 50%, or at least 53%, or at least 56%, or at least 61%, or at least 80%, or at least 85%, or at least 90%, or at least 100% amino acid identity to the polypeptides of the sequence listing, or comprise a conserved domain at least 80%, or at least 91%, or at least 95%, or at least 97%, or at least 100% identical to the conserved domain of a polypeptide selected from the sequence listing. The conserved domains of the polypeptides of the invention and/or found within the sequence listing are required for the function of regulating transcription and altering a trait in a transgenic plant. Transgenic plants of the invention that comprise polypeptides of the invention will have improved traits, relative to a control plant, said improved traits including larger size, larger seeds, greater yield, darker green color, increased rate of photosynthesis, more tolerance to osmotic stress, more drought tolerance, more heat tolerance, more salt tolerance, more cold tolerance, more tolerance to low nitrogen, early flowering, delayed flowering, more resistance to disease, more seed protein, and/or more seed oil relative to the control plant. The invention is also directed to methods for producing a transgenic plant, or increasing the size, yield, photosynthetic rate or yield of a plant. These methods are carried out with a target plant that is then transformed with an expression vector that encodes a polypeptide with a conserved domain at least 91%, 95%, or 97% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1995, the conserved domain of amino acids 146-194 of the G1435 polypeptide, SEQ ID NO: 1796, thus producing the transgenic plant.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEQUENCE LISTING AND DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a conservative estimate of phylogenetic relationships among the orders of flowering plants (modified from Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (1998) Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 84: 1-49). Those plants with a single cotyledon (monocots) are a monophyletic clade nested within at least two major lineages of dicots; the eudicots are further divided into rosids and asterids. Arabidopsis is a rosid eudicot classified within the order Brassicales; rice is a member of the monocot order Poales. FIG. 1 was adapted from Daly et al. (2001) Plant Physiol. 127: 1328-1333.

FIGS. 2A-2C show a Clustal W alignment of the G1435 Glade. SEQ ID NOs: appear in parentheses after each Gene IDentifier (GID). The highly conserved GARP domain is identified in FIGS. 2A-2B by the box that appears around the residues within these domains.

Incorporation of the Sequence Listing. The copy of the Sequence Listing, being submitted electronically with this patent application, provided under 37 CFR §1.821-1.825, is a read-only memory computer-readable file in ASCII text format. The Sequence Listing is named “MBI-0022DIV1_ST25.txt”. The electronic file of the Sequence Listing was created on Dec. 23, 2010, and is 4,402,288 bytes in size (4.19 megabytes measured in MS-WINDOWS). The Sequence Listing is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to polynucleotides and polypeptides, e.g. for modifying phenotypes of plants.

The polynucleotides of the invention encode plant transcription factors. The plant transcription factors are derived, e.g., from Arabidopsis thaliana and can belong, e.g., to one or more of the following transcription factor families: the AP2 (APETALA2) domain transcription factor family (Riechmann and Meyerowitz (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 379:633-646); the MYB transcription factor family (Martin and Paz-Ares (1997) Trends Genet. 13:67-73); the MADS domain transcription factor family (Riechmann and Meyerowitz (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 378:1079-1101); the WRKY protein family (Ishiguro and Nakamura (1994) Mol. Gen. Genet. 244:563-571); the ankyrin-repeat protein family (Zhang et al. (1992) Plant Cell 4:1575-1588); the miscellaneous protein (MISC) family (Kim et al. (1997) Plant J. 11:1237-1251); the zinc finger protein (Z) family (Klug and Schwabe (1995) FASEB J. 9: 597-604); the homeobox (HB) protein family (Duboule (1994) Guidebook to the Homeobox Genes, Oxford University Press); the CAAT-element binding proteins (Forsburg and Guarente (1989) Genes Dev. 3:1166-1178); the squamosa promoter binding proteins (SPB) (Klein et al. (1996) Mol. Gen. Genet. 1996 250:7-16); the NAM protein family; the IAA/AUX proteins (Rouse et al. (1998) Science 279:1371-1373); the HLH/MYC protein family (Littlewood et al. (1994) Prot. Profile 1:639-709); the DNA-binding protein (DBP) family (Tucker et al. (1994) EMBO J. 13:2994-3002); the bZIP family of transcription factors (Foster et al. (1994) FASEB J. 8:192-200); the BPF-1 protein (Box P-binding factor) family (da Costa e Silva et al. (1993) Plant J. 4:125-135); and the golden protein (GLD) family (Hall et al. (1998) Plant Cell 10:925-936).

In addition to methods for modifying a plant phenotype by employing one or more polynucleotides and polypeptides of the invention described herein, the polynucleotides and polypeptides of the invention have a variety of additional uses. These uses include their use in the recombinant production (i.e, expression) of proteins; as regulators of plant gene expression, as diagnostic probes for the presence of complementary or partially complementary nucleic acids (including for detection of natural coding nucleic acids); as substrates for further reactions, e.g., mutation reactions, PCR reactions, or the like, of as substrates for cloning e.g., including digestion or ligation reactions, and for identifying exogenous or endogenous modulators of the transcription factors.

Definitions

A “polynucleotide” is a nucleic acid sequence comprising a plurality of polymerized nucleotide residues, e.g., at least about 15 consecutive polymerized nucleotide residues, optionally at least about 30 consecutive nucleotides, at least about 50 consecutive nucleotides. In many instances, a polynucleotide comprises a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide (or protein) or a domain or fragment thereof. Additionally, the polynucleotide may comprise a promoter, an intron, an enhancer region, a polyadenylation site, a translation initiation site, 5′ or 3′ untranslated regions, a reporter gene, a selectable marker, or the like. The polynucleotide can be single stranded or double stranded DNA or RNA. The polynucleotide optionally comprises modified bases or a modified backbone. The polynucleotide can be, e.g., genomic DNA or RNA, a transcript (such as an mRNA), a cDNA, a PCR product, a cloned DNA, a synthetic DNA or RNA, or the like. The polynucleotide can comprise a sequence in either sense or antisense orientations.

A “recombinant polynucleotide” is a polynucleotide that is not in its native state, e.g., the polynucleotide comprises a nucleotide sequence not found in nature, or the polynucleotide is in a context other than that in which it is naturally found, e.g., separated from nucleotide sequences with which it typically is in proximity in nature, or adjacent (or contiguous with) nucleotide sequences with which it typically is not in proximity. For example, the sequence at issue can be cloned into a vector, or otherwise recombined with one or more additional nucleic acid.

An “isolated polynucleotide” is a polynucleotide whether naturally occurring or recombinant, that is present outside the cell in which it is typically found in nature, whether purified or not. Optionally, an isolated polynucleotide is subject to one or more enrichment or purification procedures, e.g., cell lysis, extraction, centrifugation, precipitation, or the like.

A “recombinant polypeptide” is a polypeptide produced by translation of a recombinant polynucleotide. An “isolated polypeptide,” whether a naturally occurring or a recombinant polypeptide, is more enriched in (or out of) a cell than the polypeptide in its natural state in a wild type cell, e.g., more than about 5% enriched, more than about 10% enriched, or more than about 20%, or more than about 50%, or more, enriched, i.e., alternatively denoted: 105%, 110%, 120%, 150% or more, enriched relative to wild type or other control standardized at 100%. Such an enrichment is not the result of a natural response of a wild type or other control plant. Alternatively, or additionally, the isolated polypeptide is separated from other cellular components with which it is typically associated, e.g., by any of the various protein purification methods herein.

The term “plant” includes whole plants, shoot vegetative organs/structures (for example, leaves, stems and tubers), roots, flowers and floral organs/structures (for example, bracts, sepals, petals, stamens, carpels, anthers and ovules), seed (including embryo, endosperm, and seed coat) and fruit (the mature ovary), plant tissue (for example, vascular tissue, ground tissue, and the like) and cells (for example, guard cells, egg cells, and the like), and progeny of same. The class of plants that can be used in the method of the invention is generally as broad as the class of higher and lower plants amenable to transformation techniques, including angiosperms (monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants), gymnosperms, ferns, horsetails, psilophytes, lycophytes, bryophytes, and multicellular algae (see for example, Daly et al. (2001) Plant Physiol. 127: 1328-1333 (2001), adapted from Ku et al. (2000) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97: 9121-9126; and see also Tudge (2000) in The Variety of Life, Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y. pp. 547-606.

The term “transgenic plant” refers to a plant that contains genetic material, not found in a control plant such as a wild type plant of the same species, variety or cultivar. The genetic material may include a transgene, an insertional mutagenesis event (such as by transposon or T-DNA insertional mutagenesis), an activation tagging sequence, a mutated sequence, a homologous recombination event or a sequence modified by chimeraplasty. Typically, the foreign genetic material has been introduced into the plant by human manipulation.

A transgenic plant may contain an expression vector or cassette. The expression cassette typically comprises a polypeptide-encoding sequence operably linked (i.e., under regulatory control of) to appropriate inducible or constitutive regulatory sequences that allow for the expression of polypeptide. The expression cassette can be introduced into a plant by transformation or by breeding after transformation of a parent plant. A plant refers to a whole plant as well as to a plant part, such as seed, fruit, leaf, or root, plant tissue, plant cells or any other plant material, e.g., a plant explant, as well as to progeny thereof, and to in vitro systems that mimic biochemical or cellular components or processes in a cell.

The phrase “ectopically expression or altered expression” in reference to a polynucleotide indicates that the pattern of expression in, e.g., a transgenic plant or plant tissue, is different from the expression pattern in a wild type plant, control plant, or a reference plant of the same species. For example, the polynucleotide or polypeptide is expressed in a cell or tissue type other than a cell or tissue type in which the sequence is expressed in the control or wild type plant, or by expression at a time other than at the time the sequence is expressed in the control or wild type plant, or by a response to different inducible agents, such as hormones or environmental signals, or at different expression levels (either higher or lower) compared with those found in a control or wild type plant. The term also refers to altered expression patterns that are produced by lowering the levels of expression to below the detection level or completely abolishing expression. The resulting expression pattern can be transient or stable, constitutive or inducible. In reference to a polypeptide, the term “ectopic expression or altered expression” further may relate to altered activity levels resulting from the interactions of the polypeptides with exogenous or endogenous modulators or from interactions with factors or as a result of the chemical modification of the polypeptides.

The term “fragment” or “domain,” with respect to a polypeptide, refers to a subsequence of the polypeptide. In some cases, the fragment or domain, is a subsequence of the polypeptide which performs at least one biological function of the intact polypeptide in substantially the same manner, or to a similar extent, as does the intact polypeptide. For example, a polypeptide fragment can comprise a recognizable structural motif or functional domain such as a DNA binding domain that binds to a DNA promoter region, an activation domain or a domain for protein-protein interactions. Fragments can vary in size from as few as 6 amino acids to the full length of the intact polypeptide, but are preferably at least about 30 amino acids in length and more preferably at least about 60 amino acids in length. In reference to a nucleotide sequence, “a fragment” refers to any subsequence of a polynucleotide, typically, of at least consecutive about 15 nucleotides, preferably at least about 30 nucleotides, more preferably at least about 50, of any of the sequences provided herein.

A “conserved domain” or “conserved region” as used herein refers to a region in heterologous polynucleotide or polypeptide sequences where there is a relatively high degree of sequence identity between the distinct sequences. A “GARP” domain”, such as is found in a polypeptide member of GARP family, is an example of a conserved domain. With respect to polynucleotides encoding presently disclosed polypeptides, a conserved domain is preferably at least nine base pairs (bp) in length. A conserved domain with respect to presently disclosed polypeptides refers to a domain within a polypeptide family that exhibits a higher degree of sequence homology, such as at least about 80% sequence identity, or at least about 91% sequence identity, or at least about 95% sequence identity, or at least about 97% amino acid residue sequence identity, to a conserved domain of a polypeptide of the invention (e.g., SEQ ID NOs: 1999-2007). Sequences that possess or encode for conserved domains that meet these criteria of percentage identity, and that have comparable biological activity to the present polypeptide sequences, for example, those sequences that are members of the G1435 clade polypeptides, are encompassed by the invention. A fragment or domain can be referred to as outside a conserved domain, outside a consensus sequence, or outside a consensus DNA-binding site that is known to exist or that exists for a particular polypeptide class, family, or sub-family. In this case, the fragment or domain will not include the exact amino acids of a consensus sequence or consensus DNA-binding site of a transcription factor class, family or sub-family, or the exact amino acids of a particular transcription factor consensus sequence or consensus DNA-binding site. Furthermore, a particular fragment, region, or domain of a polypeptide, or a polynucleotide encoding a polypeptide, can be “outside a conserved domain” if all the amino acids of the fragment, region, or domain fall outside of a defined conserved domain(s) for a polypeptide or protein. Sequences having lesser degrees of identity but comparable biological activity are considered to be equivalents.

As one of ordinary skill in the art recognizes, conserved domains may be identified as regions or domains of identity to a specific consensus sequence (see, for example, Riechmann et al. (2000a) Science 290, 2105-2110; Riechmann, J. L., and Ratcliffe, O. J. (2000b) Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 3, 423-434). Thus, by using alignment methods well known in the art, the conserved domains of the plant polypeptides, for example, for the GARP family of transcription factors), may be determined.

The polypeptide may comprise 1) a localization domain, 2) an activation domain, 3) a repression domain, 4) an oligomerization domain, or 5) a DNA-binding domain, or the like. The conserved domains of the polypeptides of the invention and/or that are found within the sequence listing are required for the function of regulating transcription and altering a trait in a transgenic plant of the invention. Altered traits that may be conferred to a transgenic plant of the invention may include larger size, larger seeds, greater yield, darker green, increased rate of photosynthesis, more tolerance to osmotic stress, more drought tolerance, more heat tolerance, more salt tolerance, more cold tolerance, more tolerance to low nitrogen, early flowering, delayed flowering, more resistance to disease, more seed protein, and more seed oil relative to a control plant.

Conserved domains for some examples of polypeptide sequences of the invention are listed in Table 4. Also, the polypeptides of Table 4 have conserved domains specifically indicated by amino acid coordinate start and stop sites. A comparison of the regions of these polypeptides allows one of skill in the art (see, for example, Reeves and Nissen (1990) J. Biol. Chem. 265, 8573-8582) to identify domains or conserved domains for any of the polypeptides listed or referred to in this disclosure.

The term “trait” refers to a physiological, morphological, biochemical or physical characteristic of a plant or particular plant material or cell. In some instances, this characteristic is visible to the human eye, such as seed or plant size, or can be measured by available biochemical techniques, such as the protein, starch or oil content of seed or leaves or by the observation of the expression level of genes, e.g., by employing Northern analysis, RT-PCR, microarray gene expression assays or reporter gene expression systems, or by agricultural observations such as stress tolerance, yield or pathogen tolerance.

“Trait modification” refers to a detectable difference in a characteristic in a plant ectopically expressing a polynucleotide or polypeptide of the present invention relative to a plant not doing so, such as a control or wild type plant. In some cases, the trait modification can be evaluated quantitatively. For example, the trait modification can entail at least about a 2% increase or decrease in an observed trait (difference), at least a 5% difference, at least about a 10% difference, at least about a 20% difference, at least about a 30%, at least about a 50%, at least about a 70%, or at least about a 100%, or an even greater difference. It is known that there can be a natural variation in the modified trait. Therefore, the trait modification observed entails a change of the normal distribution of the trait in the plants compared with the distribution observed in a control or a wild type plant.

Trait modifications of particular interest include those to seed (such as embryo or endosperm), fruit, root, flower, leaf, stem, shoot, seedling or the like, including: enhanced tolerance to environmental conditions including freezing, chilling, heat, drought, water saturation, radiation and ozone; improved tolerance to microbial, fungal or viral diseases; improved tolerance to pest infestations, including nematodes, mollicutes, parasitic higher plants or the like; decreased herbicide sensitivity; improved tolerance of heavy metals or enhanced ability to take up heavy metals; improved growth under poor photoconditions (e.g., low light and/or short day length), or changes in expression levels of genes of interest. Other phenotype that can be modified relate to the production of plant metabolites, such as variations in the production of taxol, tocopherol, tocotrienol, sterols, phytosterols, vitamins, wax monomers, anti-oxidants, amino acids, lignins, cellulose, tannins, prenyllipids (such as chlorophylls and carotenoids), glucosinolates, and terpenoids, enhanced or compositionally altered protein or oil production (especially in seeds), or modified sugar (insoluble or soluble) and/or starch composition. Physical plant characteristics that can be modified include cell development (such as the number of trichomes), fruit and seed size and number, yields of plant parts such as stems, leaves and roots, the stability of the seeds during storage, characteristics of the seed pod (e.g., susceptibility to shattering), root hair length and quantity, internode distances, or the quality of seed coat. Plant growth characteristics that can be modified include growth rate, germination rate of seeds, vigor of plants and seedlings, leaf and flower senescence, male sterility, apomixis, flowering time, flower abscission, rate of nitrogen uptake, biomass or transpiration characteristics, as well as plant architecture characteristics such as apical dominance, branching patterns, number of organs, organ identity, organ shape or size.

A “control plant” as used in the present invention refers to a plant cell, seed, plant component, plant tissue, plant organ or whole plant used to compare against transgenic or genetically modified plant for the purpose of identifying an enhanced phenotype in the transgenic or genetically modified plant. A control plant may in some cases be a transgenic plant line that comprises an empty vector or marker gene, but does not contain the recombinant polynucleotide of the present invention that is expressed in the transgenic or genetically modified plant being evaluated. In general, a control plant is a plant of the same line or variety as the transgenic or genetically modified plant being tested. A suitable control plant would include a genetically unaltered or non-transgenic plant of the parental line used to generate a transgenic plant herein.

Polypeptides and Polynucleotides of the Invention

The present invention provides, among other things, transcription factors (TFs), and transcription factor homologue polypeptides, and isolated or recombinant polynucleotides encoding the polypeptides. These polypeptides and polynucleotides may be employed to modify a plant's characteristic.

Exemplary polynucleotides encoding the polypeptides of the invention were identified in the Arabidopsis thaliana GenBank database using publicly available sequence analysis programs and parameters. Sequences initially identified were then further characterized to identify sequences comprising specified sequence strings corresponding to sequence motifs present in families of known transcription factors. Polynucleotide sequences meeting such criteria were confirmed as transcription factors.

Additional polynucleotides of the invention were identified by screening Arabidopsis thaliana and/or other plant cDNA libraries with probes corresponding to known transcription factors under low stringency hybridization conditions. Additional sequences, including full length coding sequences were subsequently recovered by the rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) procedure, using a commercially available kit according to the manufacturer's instructions. Where necessary, multiple rounds of RACE are performed to isolate 5′ and 3′ ends. The full length cDNA was then recovered by a routine end-to-end polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using primers specific to the isolated 5′ and 3′ ends. Exemplary sequences are provided in the Sequence Listing.

The polynucleotides of the invention were ectopically expressed in overexpressor or knockout plants and changes in the characteristics of the plants were observed. Therefore, the polynucleotides and polypeptides can be employed to improve the characteristics of plants.

Making Polynucleotides

The polynucleotides of the invention include sequences that encode transcription factors and transcription factor homologue polypeptides and sequences complementary thereto, as well as unique fragments of coding sequence, or sequence complementary thereto. Such polynucleotides can be, e.g., DNA or RNA, e.g., mRNA, cRNA, synthetic RNA, genomic DNA, cDNA synthetic DNA, oligonucleotides, etc. The polynucleotides are either double-stranded or single-stranded, and include either, or both sense (i.e., coding) sequences and antisense (i.e., non-coding, complementary) sequences. The polynucleotides include the coding sequence of a transcription factor, or transcription factor homologue polypeptide, in isolation, in combination with additional coding sequences (e.g., a purification tag, a localization signal, as a fusion-protein, as a pre-protein, or the like), in combination with non-coding sequences (e.g., introns or inteins, regulatory elements such as promoters, enhancers, terminators, and the like), and/or in a vector or host environment in which the polynucleotide encoding a transcription factor or transcription factor homologue polypeptide is an endogenous or exogenous gene.

A variety of methods exist for producing the polynucleotides of the invention. Procedures for identifying and isolating DNA clones are well known to those of skill in the art, and are described in, e.g., Berger and Kimmel, Guide to Molecular Cloning Techniques, Methods in Enzymology volume 152 Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, Calif. (“Berger”); Sambrook et al., Molecular Cloning-A Laboratory Manual (2nd Ed.), Vol. 1-3, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., 1989 (“Sambrook”) and Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, F.M. Ausubel et al., eds., Current Protocols, a joint venture between Greene Publishing Associates, Inc. and John Wiley & Sons, Inc., (supplemented through 2000) (“Ausubel”).

Alternatively, polynucleotides of the invention, can be produced by a variety of in vitro amplification methods adapted to the present invention by appropriate selection of specific or degenerate primers. Examples of protocols sufficient to direct persons of skill through in vitro amplification methods, including the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) the ligase chain reaction (LCR), Qbeta-replicase amplification and other RNA polymerase mediated techniques (e.g., NASBA), e.g., for the production of the homologous nucleic acids of the invention are found in Berger, Sambrook, and Ausubel, as well as Mullis et al., (1987) PCR Protocols A Guide to Methods and Applications (Innis et al. eds) Academic Press Inc. San Diego, Calif. (1990) (Innis) Improved methods for cloning in vitro amplified nucleic acids are described in Wallace et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,426,039. Improved methods for amplifying large nucleic acids by PCR are summarized in Cheng et al. (1994) Nature 369: 684-685 and the references cited therein, in which PCR amplicons of up to 40 kb are generated. One of skill will appreciate that essentially any RNA can be converted into a double stranded DNA suitable for restriction digestion, PCR expansion and sequencing using reverse transcriptase and a polymerase. See, e.g., Ausubel, Sambrook and Berger, all supra.

Alternatively, polynucleotides and oligonucleotides of the invention can be assembled from fragments produced by solid-phase synthesis methods. Typically, fragments of up to approximately 100 bases are individually synthesized and then enzymatically or chemically ligated to produce a desired sequence, e.g., a polynucleotide encoding all or part of a transcription factor. For example, chemical synthesis using the phosphoramidite method is described, e.g., by Beaucage et al. (1981) Tetrahedron Letters 22:1859-69; and Matthes et al. (1984) EMBO J. 3:801-5. According to such methods, oligonucleotides are synthesized, purified, annealed to their complementary strand, ligated and then optionally cloned into suitable vectors. And if so desired, the polynucleotides and polypeptides of the invention can be custom ordered from any of a number of commercial suppliers.

Table 1 provides exemplary polynucleotide sequences of the invention. The table includes from left to right for each sequence: the SEQ ID No., the internal code reference number (GID), where the coding sequence is initiated and where the coding sequence terminates, and identification of any conserved domains for the translated polypeptide sequences maintaining the same coordinates of the polynucleotide sequence.

TABLE 1
Exemplary Polynucleotide Sequences of the Invention
SEQCoding SequenceConserved Domain(s) in
ID No.GIDCoordinatesAmino Acid Coordinates
1G188 50 . . . 1096175-222
2G616129 . . . 121139-95
3G1970 . . . 816 76-145
4G261458 . . . 1663 16-104
5G2863 . . . 869145-213
6G869428 . . . 1402109-177
7G237 1 . . . 852 11-113
8G409331 . . . 1149 64-124
9G418103 . . . 2322500-560
10G591 88 . . . 1020143-240
11G525109 . . . 966  23-167
12G54555 . . . 73882-102, 136-154
13G865282 . . . 920  36-103
14G881 76 . . . 1008176-233
15G896 47 . . . 115018-39
16G378 1 . . . 726196-237
17G569184 . . . 969  90-153
18G558267 . . . 1259 45-105
19G2281 . . . 761 89-157
20G225157 . . . 441 39-76
21G22610 . . . 34828-78
22G256312 . . . 1310 13-115
23G419381 . . . 2213392-452
24G46441 . . . 6647-15, 70-80, 125-158,
183-219
25G482188 . . . 760  25-116
26G502224 . . . 1093 10-155
27G526181 . . . 1188 21-149
28G561 86 . . . 1168248-308
29G664104 . . . 952  13-116
30G682 1 . . . 22822-53
31G911 1 . . . 480 86-129
32G964162 . . . 1013126-186
33G39482 . . . 918121-182
34G48933 . . . 695 57-156
35G214238 . . . 206422-71
36G229 41 . . . 1156 14-120
37G24146 . . . 867 14-114
38G663113 . . . 862  9-111
39G776 76 . . . 1431 27-175
40G778 50 . . . 1249220-267
41G883 67 . . . 1041245-302
42G938 1 . . . 1755 96-104
43G1328 67 . . . 1041 14-119
44G584 40 . . . 1809401-494
45G668 1 . . . 1056 13-113
46G727 43 . . . 1977226-269
47G73273 . . . 58831-91
48G9 81 . . . 1139 62-127
49G428 97 . . . 1032229-292
50G126988 . . . 95127-83
51G1038240 . . . 1574198-247
52G438188 . . . 271622-85
53G571326 . . . 1708160-220
54G748 98 . . . 1444112-140
55G431 1 . . . 1149286-335
56G187118 . . . 1074172-228
57G470 1 . . . 2580 61-393
58G615197 . . . 1252 88-147
59G107362 . . . 87433-42, 78-175
60G2673 . . . 729 67-134
61G38149 . . . 1156 76-143
62G4338 . . . 643104-172
63G20716 . . . 930 6-106
64G25415 . . . 923 62-106
65G26348 . . . 902 15-105
66G308196 . . . 1794270-274
67G536 1 . . . 768226-233
68G680338 . . . 227524-70
69G867 64 . . . 1098 59-124
70G91220 . . . 694 51-118
71G996 53 . . . 1063 14-114
72G1068150 . . . 1310143-150
73G1337 97 . . . 1398 9-75
74G23188 . . . 888 14-118
75G274172 . . . 2037108-572
76G307 1 . . . 1764323-339
77G346 1 . . . 825196-221
78G598248 . . . 1039205-263
79G605 72 . . . 1076132-143
80G77754 . . . 914 47-101
81G1133104 . . . 1084256-326
82G126662 . . . 718 79-147
83G132454 . . . 914 20-118
84G97558 . . . 657 4-71
85G15731 . . . 621 2-57
86G859132 . . . 569  2-57
87G1842219 . . . 809  2-57
88G184351 . . . 653 2-57
89G184439 . . . 635 2-57
90G861158 . . . 880  2-57
91G19263 . . . 959128-185
92G234106 . . . 1035 14-115
93G36154 . . . 64743-63
94G486 1 . . . 420 5-66
95G994180 . . . 917  14-123
96G133556 . . . 66724-43, 131-144, 185-203
97G562137 . . . 1285253-315
98G736 1 . . . 513 54-111
99G1435 8 . . . 904146-194
100G18054 . . . 629118-174
101G592121 . . . 1200290-342
102G20815 . . . 725 14-116
103G65817 . . . 757 2-105
104G133476 . . . 885 18-190
105G2783 . . . 622 37-104
106G74025 . . . 92424-42, 232-268
107G559 89 . . . 1285203-264
108G1093 1 . . . 531105-148
109G725 46 . . . 112239-87

Orthologs and Paralogs

Sequences homologous, i.e., that share significant sequence identity or similarity, to those provided in the Sequence Listing, derived from Arabidopsis thaliana or from other plants of choice are also an aspect of the invention. Homologous sequences can be derived from any plant including monocots and dicots and in particular agriculturally important plant species, including but not limited to, crops such as soybean, wheat, corn, potato, cotton, rice, oilseed rape (including canola), sunflower, alfalfa, sugarcane and turf; or fruits and vegetables, such as banana, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry, cantaloupe, carrot, cauliflower, coffee, cucumber, eggplant, grapes, honeydew, lettuce, mango, melon, onion, papaya, peas, peppers, pineapple, spinach, squash, sweet corn, tobacco, tomato, watermelon, rosaceous fruits (such as apple, peach, pear, cherry and plum) and vegetable brassicas (such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kohlrabi). Other crops, fruits and vegetables whose phenotype can be changed include barley, rye, millet, sorghum, currant, avocado, citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit and tangerines, artichoke, cherries, nuts such as the walnut and peanut, endive, leek, roots, such as arrowroot, beet, cassava, turnip, radish, yam, and sweet potato, and beans. The homologous sequences may also be derived from woody species, such pine, poplar and eucalyptus.

Homologous sequences as described above can comprise orthologous or paralogous sequences. Several different methods are known by those of skill in the art for identifying and defining these functionally homologous sequences. General methods for identifying orthologs and paralogs, including phylogenetic methods, sequence similarity and hybridization methods, are described herein; an ortholog or paralog, including equivalogs, may be identified by one or more of the methods described below.

As described by Eisen (1998) Genome Res. 8: 163-167, evolutionary information may be used to predict gene function. It is common for groups of genes that are homologous in sequence to have diverse, although usually related, functions. However, in many cases, the identification of homologs is not sufficient to make specific predictions because not all homologs have the same function. Thus, an initial analysis of functional relatedness based on sequence similarity alone may not provide one with a means to determine where similarity ends and functional relatedness begins. Fortunately, it is well known in the art that protein function can be classified using phylogenetic analysis of gene trees combined with the corresponding species. Functional predictions can be greatly improved by focusing on how the genes became similar in sequence (i.e., by evolutionary processes) rather than on the sequence similarity itself (Eisen, supra). In fact, many specific examples exist in which gene function has been shown to correlate well with gene phylogeny (Eisen, supra). Thus, “[t]he first step in making functional predictions is the generation of a phylogenetic tree representing the evolutionary history of the gene of interest and its homologs. Such trees are distinct from clusters and other means of characterizing sequence similarity because they are inferred by techniques that help convert patterns of similarity into evolutionary relationships . . . . After the gene tree is inferred, biologically determined functions of the various homologs are overlaid onto the tree. Finally, the structure of the tree and the relative phylogenetic positions of genes of different functions are used to trace the history of functional changes, which is then used to predict functions of [as yet] uncharacterized genes” (Eisen, supra).

Within a single plant species, gene duplication may cause two copies of a particular gene, giving rise to two or more genes with similar sequence and often similar function known as paralogs. A paralog is therefore a similar gene formed by duplication within the same species. Paralogs typically cluster together or in the same clade (a group of similar genes) when a gene family phylogeny is analyzed using programs such as CLUSTAL Thompson et al. (1994) Nucleic Acids Res. 22: 4673-4680; et al. (1996) Methods Enzymol. 266: 383-402). Groups of similar genes can also be identified with pair-wise BLAST analysis (Feng and Doolittle (1987) J. Mol. Evol. 25: 351-360). For example, a clade of very similar MADS domain transcription factors from Arabidopsis all share a common function in flowering time (Ratcliffe et al. (2001) Plant Physiol. 126: 122-132), and a group of very similar AP2 domain transcription factors from Arabidopsis are involved in tolerance of plants to freezing (Gilmour et al. (1998) Plant J. 16: 433-442). Analysis of groups of similar genes with similar function that fall within one clade can yield sub-sequences that are particular to the clade. These sub-sequences, known as consensus sequences, can not only be used to define the sequences within each clade, but define the functions of these genes; genes within a clade may contain paralogous sequences, or orthologous sequences that share the same function (see also, for example, Mount (2001), in Bioinformatics: Sequence and Genome Analysis, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., p. 543).

Transcription factor gene sequences are conserved across diverse eukaryotic species lines (Goodrich et al. (1993) Cell 75: 519-530); Lin et al. (1991) Nature 353: 569-571; Sadowski et al. (1988) Nature 335: 563-564). Plants are no exception to this observation; diverse plant species possess transcription factors that have similar sequences and functions. Speciation, the production of new species from a parental species, gives rise to two or more genes with similar sequence and similar function. These genes, termed orthologs, often have an identical function within their host plants and are often interchangeable between species without losing function. Because plants have common ancestors, many genes in any plant species will have a corresponding orthologous gene in another plant species. Once a phylogenic tree for a gene family of one species has been constructed using a program such as CLUSTAL (Thompson et al. (1994) supra; Higgins et al. (1996) Methods Enzymol. 266: 383-402) potential orthologous sequences can be placed into the phylogenetic tree and their relationship to genes from the species of interest can be determined. Orthologous sequences can also be identified by a reciprocal BLAST strategy. Once an orthologous sequence has been identified, the function of the ortholog can be deduced from the identified function of the reference sequence.

By using a phylogenetic analysis, one skilled in the art would recognize that the ability to predict similar functions conferred by closely-related polypeptides is predictable. This predictability has been confirmed by our own many studies in which we have found that a wide variety of polypeptides have orthologous or closely-related homologous sequences that function as does the first, closely-related reference sequence. For example, distinct transcription factors, including:

(i) AP2 family Arabidopsis G47 (found in US patent publication 20040019925A1), a phylogenetically-related sequence from soybean, and two phylogenetically-related homologs from rice all can confer greater tolerance to drought, hyperosmotic stress, or delayed flowering as compared to control plants;

(ii) CAAT family Arabidopsis G481 (found in PCT patent publication WO2004076638), and numerous phylogenetically-related sequences from dicots and monocots can confer greater tolerance to drought-related stress as compared to control plants;

(iii) Myb-related Arabidopsis G682 (found in PCT patent publication WO2004076638) and numerous phylogenetically-related sequences from dicots and monocots can confer greater tolerance to heat, drought-related stress, cold, and salt as compared to control plants;

(iv) WRKY family Arabidopsis G1274 (found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/666,642) and numerous closely-related sequences from dicots and monocots have been shown to confer increased water deprivation tolerance, and (v) AT-hook family soy sequence G3456 (found in US patent publication 20040128712A1) and numerous phylogenetically-related sequences from dicots and monocots, increased biomass compared to control plants when these sequences are overexpressed in plants.

The polypeptides sequences belong to distinct clades of polypeptides that include members from diverse species. In each case, most or all of the clade member sequences derived from both dicots and monocots have been shown to confer darker green coloration, increased photosynthetic rate, increased size, increased yield or delayed flowering, relative to control plants, when the sequences were overexpressed. These studies each demonstrate that evolutionarily conserved genes from diverse species are likely to function similarly (i.e., by regulating similar target sequences and controlling the same traits), and that polynucleotides from one species may be transformed into closely-related or distantly-related plant species to confer or improve traits.

As shown in Table 4, polypeptides that are phylogenetically related to the polypeptides of the invention may have at least 46%, 50%, 53%, 56%, 61% or 100% amino acid sequence identity with a member of the G1435 clade of transcription factors, or have conserved GARP domains that share at least 91%, 95%, 97%, or 100% amino acid sequence identity with a member of the G1435 clade of transcription factors, and have similar functions in that the polypeptides of the invention may, when overexpressed, confer at least one regulatory activity selected from the group consisting of greater increased photosynthetic rate, increased size, increased yield or delayed flowering, relative to control plants.

At the nucleotide level, the sequences of the invention will typically share at least about 84%, 85%, 87%, 89%, 90% or 100% sequence identity to one or more of the listed full-length sequences. These percentages were determined by BLASTn analysis comparing to the G1435 polynucleotide, SEQ ID NO: 99, the clade member nucleotide sequences of:

G4241 or G4240 (SEQ ID NOs: 1991 or 1993, each 84% identical to G1435, the BLASTn analysis comparing 103/122 bases of either sequence to G1435);

G4244 (SEQ ID NO: 1987, 85% identical to G1435, the BLASTn analysis comparing 89/105 bases to G1435);

G4243 (SEQ ID NO: 1985, 87% identical to G1435, the BLASTn analysis comparing 91/104 bases to G1435);

G4245 (SEQ ID NO: 1989, 89% identical to G1435, the BLASTn analysis comparing 35/39 bases to G1435); or

G2741 (SEQ ID NO: 1983, 90% identical to G1435, the BLASTn analysis comparing 172/191 bases to G1435).

The degeneracy of the genetic code enables major variations in the nucleotide sequence of a polynucleotide while maintaining the amino acid sequence of the encoded protein.

Percentage identity can be determined electronically, e.g., by using the MEGALIGN program (DNASTAR, Inc. Madison, Wis.). The MEGALIGN program can create alignments between two or more sequences according to different methods, for example, the clustal method (see, for example, Higgins and Sharp (1988) Gene 73: 237-244. The clustal algorithm groups sequences into clusters by examining the distances between all pairs. The clusters are aligned pairwise and then in groups. Other alignment algorithms or programs may be used, including FASTA, BLAST, or ENTREZ, FASTA and BLAST, and which may be used to calculate percent similarity. These are available as a part of the GCG sequence analysis package (University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.), and can be used with or without default settings. ENTREZ is available through the National Center for Biotechnology Information. In one embodiment, the percent identity of two sequences can be determined by the GCG program with a gap weight of 1, e.g., each amino acid gap is weighted as if it were a single amino acid or nucleotide mismatch between the two sequences (see U.S. Pat. No. 6,262,333).

Software for performing BLAST analyses is publicly available, e.g., through the National Center for Biotechnology Information (see internet website at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/). This algorithm involves first identifying high scoring sequence pairs (HSPs) by identifying short words of length W in the query sequence, which either match or satisfy some positive-valued threshold score T when aligned with a word of the same length in a database sequence. T is referred to as the neighborhood word score threshold (Altschul (1990) J. Mol. Biol. 215: 403-410; Altschul (1993) J. Mol. Evol. 36: 290-300). These initial neighborhood word hits act as seeds for initiating searches to find longer HSPs containing them. The word hits are then extended in both directions along each sequence for as far as the cumulative alignment score can be increased. Cumulative scores are calculated using, for nucleotide sequences, the parameters M (reward score for a pair of matching residues; always >0) and N (penalty score for mismatching residues; always <0). For amino acid sequences, a scoring matrix is used to calculate the cumulative score. Extension of the word hits in each direction are halted when: the cumulative alignment score falls off by the quantity X from its maximum achieved value; the cumulative score goes to zero or below, due to the accumulation of one or more negative-scoring residue alignments; or the end of either sequence is reached. The BLAST algorithm parameters W, T, and X determine the sensitivity and speed of the alignment. The BLASTN program (for nucleotide sequences) uses as defaults a wordlength (W) of 11, an expectation (E) of 10, a cutoff of 100, M=5, N=−4, and a comparison of both strands. For amino acid sequences, the BLASTP program uses as defaults a wordlength (W) of 3, an expectation (E) of 10, and the BLOSUM62 scoring matrix (see Henikoff and Henikoff (1989) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89:10915). Unless otherwise indicated for comparisons of predicted polynucleotides, “sequence identity” refers to the % sequence identity generated from a tblastx using the NCBI version of the algorithm at the default settings using gapped alignments with the filter “off” (see, for example, internet website at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/).

Other techniques for alignment are described by Doolittle, ed. (1996) Methods in Enzymology, vol. 266: “Computer Methods for Macromolecular Sequence Analysis” Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, Calif., USA. Preferably, an alignment program that permits gaps in the sequence is utilized to align the sequences. The Smith-Waterman is one type of algorithm that permits gaps in sequence alignments (see Shpaer (1997) Methods Mol. Biol. 70: 173-187). Also, the GAP program using the Needleman and Wunsch alignment method can be utilized to align sequences. An alternative search strategy uses MPSRCH software, which runs on a MASPAR computer. MPSRCH uses a Smith-Waterman algorithm to score sequences on a massively parallel computer. This approach improves ability to pick up distantly related matches, and is especially tolerant of small gaps and nucleotide sequence errors. Nucleic acid-encoded amino acid sequences can be used to search both protein and DNA databases.

The percentage similarity between two polypeptide sequences, e.g., sequence A and sequence B, is calculated by dividing the length of sequence A, minus the number of gap residues in sequence A, minus the number of gap residues in sequence B, into the sum of the residue matches between sequence A and sequence B, times one hundred. Gaps of low or of no similarity between the two amino acid sequences are not included in determining percentage similarity. Percent identity between polynucleotide sequences can also be counted or calculated by other methods known in the art, e.g., the Jotun Hein method (see, for example, Hein (1990) Methods Enzymol. 183: 626-645) Identity between sequences can also be determined by other methods known in the art, e.g., by varying hybridization conditions (see US Patent Application No. 20010010913).

Thus, the invention provides methods for identifying a sequence similar or paralogous or orthologous or homologous to one or more polynucleotides as noted herein, or one or more target polypeptides encoded by the polynucleotides, or otherwise noted herein and may include linking or associating a given plant phenotype or gene function with a sequence. In the methods, a sequence database is provided (locally or across an internet or intranet) and a query is made against the sequence database using the relevant sequences herein and associated plant phenotypes or gene functions.

In addition, one or more polynucleotide sequences or one or more polypeptides encoded by the polynucleotide sequences may be used to search against a BLOCKS (Bairoch et al. (1997) Nucleic Acids Res. 25: 217-221), PFAM, and other databases which contain previously identified and annotated motifs, sequences and gene functions. Methods that search for primary sequence patterns with secondary structure gap penalties (Smith et al. (1992) Protein Engineering 5: 35-51) as well as algorithms such as Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST; Altschul (1990) supra; Altschul et al. (1993) supra), BLOCKS (Henikoff and Henikoff (1991) Nucleic Acids Res. 19: 6565-6572), Hidden Markov Models (HMM; Eddy (1996) Curr. Opin. Str. Biol. 6: 361-365; Sonnhammer et al. (1997) Proteins 28: 405-420), and the like, can be used to manipulate and analyze polynucleotide and polypeptide sequences encoded by polynucleotides. These databases, algorithms and other methods are well known in the art and are described in Ausubel et al. (1997) Short Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley & Sons, New York, N.Y., unit 7.7, and in Meyers (1995) Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Wiley VCH, New York, N.Y., p 856-853.

A further method for identifying or confirming that specific homologous sequences control the same function is by comparison of the transcript profile(s) obtained upon overexpression or knockout of two or more related polypeptides. Since transcript profiles are diagnostic for specific cellular states, one skilled in the art will appreciate that genes that have a highly similar transcript profile (e.g., with greater than 50% regulated transcripts in common, or with greater than 70% regulated transcripts in common, or with greater than 90% regulated transcripts in common) will have highly similar functions. Fowler and Thomashow (2002) Plant Cell 14: 1675-1690), have shown that three paralogous AP2 family genes (CBF1, CBF2 and CBF3) are induced upon cold treatment, and each of which can condition improved freezing tolerance, and all have highly similar transcript profiles. Once a polypeptide has been shown to provide a specific function, its transcript profile becomes a diagnostic tool to determine whether paralogs or orthologs have the same function.

Furthermore, methods using manual alignment of sequences similar or homologous to one or more polynucleotide sequences or one or more polypeptides encoded by the polynucleotide sequences may be used to identify regions of similarity and B-box zinc finger domains. Such manual methods are well-known of those of skill in the art and can include, for example, comparisons of tertiary structure between a polypeptide sequence encoded by a polynucleotide that comprises a known function and a polypeptide sequence encoded by a polynucleotide sequence that has a function not yet determined. Such examples of tertiary structure may comprise predicted a helices, β-sheets, amphipathic helices, leucine zipper motifs, zinc finger motifs, proline-rich regions, cysteine repeat motifs, and the like.

Orthologs and paralogs of presently disclosed polypeptides may be cloned using compositions provided by the present invention according to methods well known in the art. cDNAs can be cloned using mRNA from a plant cell or tissue that expresses one of the present sequences. Appropriate mRNA sources may be identified by interrogating Northern blots with probes designed from the present sequences, after which a library is prepared from the mRNA obtained from a positive cell or tissue. Polypeptide-encoding cDNA is then isolated using, for example, PCR, using primers designed from a presently disclosed gene sequence, or by probing with a partial or complete cDNA or with one or more sets of degenerate probes based on the disclosed sequences. The cDNA library may be used to transform plant cells. Expression of the cDNAs of interest is detected using, for example, microarrays, Northern blots, quantitative PCR, or any other technique for monitoring changes in expression. Genomic clones may be isolated using similar techniques to those.

Examples of orthologs of Arabidopsis polypeptide sequences and their functionally similar orthologs are listed in Table 4 and the Sequence Listing. In addition to the sequences in Table 4 and the Sequence Listing, the invention encompasses isolated nucleotide sequences that are phylogenetically and structurally similar to sequences listed in the Sequence Listing) and can function in a plant by increasing yield and/or and abiotic stress tolerance when ectopically expressed in a plant.

Since a significant number of these sequences are phylogenetically and sequentially related to each other and have been shown to increase yield from a plant and/or abiotic stress tolerance, one skilled in the art would predict that other similar, phylogenetically related sequences falling within the present clades of polypeptides would also perform similar functions when ectopically expressed.

Identifying Nucleic Acids by Hybridization

Polynucleotides homologous to the sequences illustrated in the Sequence Listing can be identified, e.g., by hybridization to each other under stringent or under highly stringent conditions. Single stranded polynucleotides hybridize when they associate based on a variety of well characterized physico-chemical forces, such as hydrogen bonding, solvent exclusion, base stacking and the like. The stringency of a hybridization reflects the degree of sequence identity of the nucleic acids involved, such that the higher the stringency, the more similar are the two polynucleotide strands. Stringency is influenced by a variety of factors, including temperature, salt concentration and composition, organic and non-organic additives, solvents, etc. present in both the hybridization and wash solutions and incubations (and number), as described in more detail in the references cited above.

An example of stringent hybridization conditions for hybridization of complementary nucleic acids which have more than 100 complementary residues on a filter in a Southern or northern blot is about 5° C. to 20° C. lower than the thermal melting point (Tm) for the specific sequence at a defined ionic strength and pH. The Tm is the temperature (under defined ionic strength and pH) at which 50% of the target sequence hybridizes to a perfectly matched probe. Nucleic acid molecules that hybridize under stringent conditions will typically hybridize to a probe based on either the entire cDNA or selected portions, e.g., to a unique subsequence, of the cDNA under wash conditions of 0.2×SSC to 2.0×SSC, 0.1% SDS at 50-65° C., for example 0.2×SSC, 0.1% SDS at 65° C. For identification of less closely related homologues washes can be performed at a lower temperature, e.g., 50° C. In general, stringency is increased by raising the wash temperature and/or decreasing the concentration of SSC.

As another example, stringent conditions can be selected such that an oligonucleotide that is perfectly complementary to the coding oligonucleotide hybridizes to the coding oligonucleotide with at least about a 5-10× higher signal to noise ratio than the ratio for hybridization of the perfectly complementary oligonucleotide to a nucleic acid encoding a transcription factor known as of the filing date of the application. Conditions can be selected such that a higher signal to noise ratio is observed in the particular assay which is used, e.g., about 15×, 25×, 35×, 50× or more. Accordingly, the subject nucleic acid hybridizes to the unique coding oligonucleotide with at least a 2× higher signal to noise ratio as compared to hybridization of the coding oligonucleotide to a nucleic acid encoding known polypeptide. Again, higher signal to noise ratios can be selected, e.g., about 5×, 10×, 25×, 35×, 50× or more. The particular signal will depend on the label used in the relevant assay, e.g., a fluorescent label, a colorimetric label, a radioactive label, or the like.

Alternatively, transcription factor homologue polypeptides can be obtained by screening an expression library using antibodies specific for one or more transcription factors. With the provision herein of the disclosed transcription factor, and transcription factor homologue nucleic acid sequences, the encoded polypeptide(s) can be expressed and purified in a heterologous expression system (e.g., E. coli) and used to raise antibodies (monoclonal or polyclonal) specific for the polypeptide(s) in question. Antibodies can also be raised against synthetic peptides derived from transcription factor, or transcription factor homologue, amino acid sequences. Methods of raising antibodies are well known in the art and are described in Harlow and Lane (1988) Antibodies: A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York. Such antibodies can then be used to screen an expression library produced from the plant from which it is desired to clone additional transcription factor homologues, using the methods described above. The selected cDNAs can be confirmed by sequencing and enzymatic activity.

Sequence Variations

It will readily be appreciated by those of skill in the art, that any of a variety of polynucleotide sequences are capable of encoding the transcription factors and transcription factor homologue polypeptides of the invention. Due to the degeneracy of the genetic code, many different polynucleotides can encode identical and/or substantially similar polypeptides in addition to those sequences illustrated in the Sequence Listing.

For example, Table 2 illustrates, e.g., that the codons AGC, AGT, TCA, TCC, TCG, and TCT all encode the same amino acid: serine. Accordingly, at each position in the sequence where there is a codon encoding serine, any of the above trinucleotide sequences can be used without altering the encoded polypeptide.

TABLE 2
Amino acidsCodon
AlanineAlaAGCAGCCGCGGCU
CysteineCysCTGCTGT
Aspartic acidAspDGACGAT
Glutamic acidGluEGAAGAG
PhenylalaninePheFTTCTTT
GlycineGlyGGGAGGCGGGGGT
HistidineHisHCACCAT
IsoleucineIleIATAATCATT
LysineLysKAAAAAG
LeucineLeuLTTATTGCTACTCCTGCTT
MethionineMetMATG
AsparagineAsnNAACAAT
ProlineProPCCACCCCCGCCT
GlutamineGlnQCAACAG
ArginineArgRAGAAGGCGACGCCGGCGT
SerineSerSAGCAGTTCATCCTCGTCT
ThreonineThrTACAACCACGACT
ValineValVGTAGTCGTGGTT
TryptophanTrpWTGG
TyrosineTyrYTACTAT

Sequence alterations that do not change the amino acid sequence encoded by the polynucleotide are termed “silent” variations. With the exception of the codons ATG and TGG, encoding methionine and tryptophan, respectively, any of the possible codons for the same amino acid can be substituted by a variety of techniques, e.g., site-directed mutagenesis, available in the art. Accordingly, any and all such variations of a sequence selected from the above table are a feature of the invention.

In addition to silent variations, other conservative variations that alter one, or a few amino acids in the encoded polypeptide, can be made without altering the function of the polypeptide, these conservative variants are, likewise, a feature of the invention.

For example, substitutions, deletions and insertions introduced into the sequences provided in the Sequence Listing are also envisioned by the invention. Such sequence modifications can be engineered into a sequence by site-directed mutagenesis (Wu (ed.) Meth. Enzymol. (1993) vol. 217, Academic Press) or the other methods noted below. Amino acid substitutions are typically of single residues; insertions usually will be on the order of about from 1 to 10 amino acid residues; and deletions will range about from 1 to 30 residues. In preferred embodiments, deletions or insertions are made in adjacent pairs, e.g., a deletion of two residues or insertion of two residues. Substitutions, deletions, insertions or any combination thereof can be combined to arrive at a sequence. The mutations that are made in the polynucleotide encoding the transcription factor should not place the sequence out of reading frame and should not create complementary regions that could produce secondary mRNA structure. Preferably, the polypeptide encoded by the DNA performs the desired function.

Conservative substitutions are those in which at least one residue in the amino acid sequence has been removed and a different residue inserted in its place. Such substitutions generally are made in accordance with the Table 3 when it is desired to maintain the activity of the protein. Table 3 shows amino acids which can be substituted for an amino acid in a protein and which are typically regarded as conservative substitutions.

TABLE 3
ResidueConservative Substitutions
AlaSer
ArgLys
AsnGln; His
AspGlu
GlnAsn
CysSer
GluAsp
GlyPro
HisAsn; Gln
IleLeu, Val
LeuIle; Val
LysArg; Gln
MetLeu; Ile
PheMet; Leu; Tyr
SerThr; Gly
ThrSer; Val
TrpTyr
TyrTrp; Phe
ValIle; Leu

Substitutions that are less conservative than those in Table 3 can be selected by picking residues that differ more significantly in their effect on maintaining (a) the structure of the polypeptide backbone in the area of the substitution, for example, as a sheet or helical conformation, (b) the charge or hydrophobicity of the molecule at the target site, or (c) the bulk of the side chain. The substitutions which in general are expected to produce the greatest changes in protein properties will be those in which (a) a hydrophilic residue, e.g., seryl or threonyl, is substituted for (or by) a hydrophobic residue, e.g., leucyl, isoleucyl, phenylalanyl, valyl or alanyl; (b) a cysteine or proline is substituted for (or by) any other residue; (c) a residue having an electropositive side chain, e.g., lysyl, arginyl, or histidyl, is substituted for (or by) an electronegative residue, e.g., glutamyl or aspartyl; or (d) a residue having a bulky side chain, e.g., phenylalanine, is substituted for (or by) one not having a side chain, e.g., glycine.

Further Modifying Sequences of the Invention—Mutation/Forced Evolution

In addition to generating silent or conservative substitutions as noted, above, the present invention optionally includes methods of modifying the sequences of the Sequence Listing. In the methods, nucleic acid or protein modification methods are used to alter the given sequences to produce new sequences and/or to chemically or enzymatically modify given sequences to change the properties of the nucleic acids or proteins.

Thus, in one embodiment, given nucleic acid sequences are modified, e.g., according to standard mutagenesis or artificial evolution methods to produce modified sequences. For example, Ausubel, supra, provides additional details on mutagenesis methods. Artificial forced evolution methods are described, e.g., by Stemmer (1994) Nature 370:389-391, and Stemmer (1994) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91:10747-10751. Many other mutation and evolution methods are also available and expected to be within the skill of the practitioner.

Similarly, chemical or enzymatic alteration of expressed nucleic acids and polypeptides can be performed by standard methods. For example, sequence can be modified by addition of lipids, sugars, peptides, organic or inorganic compounds, by the inclusion of modified nucleotides or amino acids, or the like. For example, protein modification techniques are illustrated in Ausubel, supra. Further details on chemical and enzymatic modifications can be found herein. These modification methods can be used to modify any given sequence, or to modify any sequence produced by the various mutation and artificial evolution modification methods noted herein.

Accordingly, the invention provides for modification of any given nucleic acid by mutation, evolution, chemical or enzymatic modification, or other available methods, as well as for the products produced by practicing such methods, e.g., using the sequences herein as a starting substrate for the various modification approaches.

For example, optimized coding sequence containing codons preferred by a particular prokaryotic or eukaryotic host can be used e.g., to increase the rate of translation or to produce recombinant RNA transcripts having desirable properties, such as a longer half-life, as compared with transcripts produced using a non-optimized sequence. Translation stop codons can also be modified to reflect host preference. For example, preferred stop codons for S. cerevisiae and mammals are TAA and TGA, respectively. The preferred stop codon for monocotyledonous plants is TGA, whereas insects and E. coli prefer to use TAA as the stop codon.

The polynucleotide sequences of the present invention can also be engineered in order to alter a coding sequence for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to, alterations which modify the sequence to facilitate cloning, processing and/or expression of the gene product. For example, alterations are optionally introduced using techniques which are well known in the art, e.g., site-directed mutagenesis, to insert new restriction sites, to alter glycosylation patterns, to change codon preference, to introduce splice sites, etc.

Furthermore, a fragment or domain derived from any of the polypeptides of the invention can be combined with domains derived from other transcription factors or synthetic domains to modify the biological activity of a transcription factor. For instance, a DNA binding domain derived from a transcription factor of the invention can be combined with the activation domain of another transcription factor or with a synthetic activation domain. A transcription activation domain assists in initiating transcription from a DNA binding site. Examples include the transcription activation region of VP16 or GAL4 (Moore et al. (1998) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95: 376-381; and Aoyama et al. (1995) Plant Cell 7:1773-1785), peptides derived from bacterial sequences (Ma and Ptashne (1987) Cell 51; 113-119) and synthetic peptides (Giniger and Ptashne, (1987) Nature 330:670-672).

Expression and Modification of Polypeptides

Typically, polynucleotide sequences of the invention are incorporated into recombinant DNA (or RNA) molecules that direct expression of polypeptides of the invention in appropriate host cells, transgenic plants, in vitro translation systems, or the like. Due to the inherent degeneracy of the genetic code, nucleic acid sequences which encode substantially the same or a functionally equivalent amino acid sequence can be substituted for any listed sequence to provide for cloning and expressing the relevant homologue.

Vectors, Promoters and Expression Systems

The present invention includes recombinant constructs comprising one or more of the nucleic acid sequences herein. The constructs typically comprise a vector, such as a plasmid, a cosmid, a phage, a virus (e.g., a plant virus), a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC), a yeast artificial chromosome (YAC), or the like, into which a nucleic acid sequence of the invention has been inserted, in a forward or reverse orientation. In a preferred aspect of this embodiment, the construct further comprises regulatory sequences, including, for example, a promoter, operably linked to the sequence. Large numbers of suitable vectors and promoters are known to those of skill in the art, and are commercially available.

General texts which describe molecular biological techniques useful herein, including the use and production of vectors, promoters and many other relevant topics, include Berger, Sambrook and Ausubel, supra. Any of the identified sequences can be incorporated into a cassette or vector, e.g., for expression in plants. A number of expression vectors suitable for stable transformation of plant cells or for the establishment of transgenic plants have been described including those described in Weissbach and Weissbach, (1989) Methods for Plant Molecular Biology, Academic Press, and Gelvin et al., (1990) Plant Molecular Biology Manual, Kluwer Academic Publishers. Specific examples include those derived from a Ti plasmid of Agrobacterium tumefaciens, as well as those disclosed by Herrera-Estrella et al. (1983) Nature 303: 209, Bevan (1984) Nucl Acid Res. 12: 8711-8721, Klee (1985) Bio/Technol. 3: 637-642, for dicotyledonous plants.

Alternatively, non-Ti vectors can be used to transfer the DNA into monocotyledonous plants and cells by using free DNA delivery techniques. Such methods can involve, for example, the use of liposomes, electroporation, microprojectile bombardment, silicon carbide whiskers, and viruses. By using these methods transgenic plants such as wheat, rice (Christou (1991) Bio/Technol. 9: 957-962) and corn (Gordon-Kamm (1990) Plant Cell 2: 603-618) can be produced. An immature embryo can also be a good target tissue for monocots for direct DNA delivery techniques by using the particle gun (Weeks et al. (1993) Plant Physiol. 102: 1077-1084; Vasil (1993) Bio/Technol. 10: 667-674; Wan and Lemeaux (1994) Plant Physiol. 104: 37-48, and for Agrobacterium-mediated DNA transfer (Ishida et al. (1996)Nature Biotech. 14: 745-750).

Typically, plant transformation vectors include one or more cloned plant coding sequence (genomic or cDNA) under the transcriptional control of 5′ and 3′ regulatory sequences and a dominant selectable marker. Such plant transformation vectors typically also contain a promoter (e.g., a regulatory region controlling inducible or constitutive, environmentally-or developmentally-regulated, or cell- or tissue-specific expression), a transcription initiation start site, an RNA processing signal (such as intron splice sites), a transcription termination site, and/or a polyadenylation signal.

Examples of constitutive plant promoters which can be useful for expressing the TF sequence include: the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter, which confers constitutive, high-level expression in most plant tissues (see, e.g., Odel et al. (1985) Nature 313:810); the nopaline synthase promoter (An et al. (1988) Plant Physiol. 88:547); and the octopine synthase promoter (Fromm et al. (1989) Plant Cell 1: 977).

A variety of plant gene promoters that regulate gene expression in response to environmental, hormonal, chemical, developmental signals, and in a tissue-active manner can be used for expression of a TF sequence in plants. Choice of a promoter is based largely on the phenotype of interest and is determined by such factors as tissue (e.g., seed, fruit, root, pollen, vascular tissue, flower, carpel, etc.), inducibility (e.g., in response to wounding, heat, cold, drought, light, pathogens, etc.), timing, developmental stage, and the like. Numerous known promoters have been characterized and can favorable be employed to promote expression of a polynucleotide of the invention in a transgenic plant or cell of interest. For example, tissue specific promoters include: seed-specific promoters (such as the napin, phaseolin or DC3 promoter described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,773,697), fruit-specific promoters that are active during fruit ripening (such as the dru 1 promoter (U.S. Pat. No. 5,783,393), or the 2A11 promoter (U.S. Pat. No. 4,943,674) and the tomato polygalacturonase promoter (Bird et al. (1988) Plant Mol Biol. 11:651), root-specific promoters, such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,618,988, 5,837,848 and 5,905,186, pollen-active promoters such as PTA29, PTA26 and PTA13 (U.S. Pat. No. 5,792,929), promoters active in vascular tissue (Ringli and Keller (1998) Plant Mol Biol. 37:977-988), flower-specific (Kaiser et al, (1995) Plant Mol Biol. 28:231-243), pollen (Baerson et al. (1994) Plant Mol Biol.26:1947-1959), carpels (Ohl et al. (1990) Plant Cell 2:837-848), pollen and ovules (Baerson et al. (1993) Plant Mol Biol.22:255-267), auxin-inducible promoters (such as that described in van der Kop et al. (1999) Plant Mol Biol. 39:979-990 or Baumann et al. (1999) Plant Cell 11:323-334), cytokinin-inducible promoter (Guevara-Garcia (1998) Plant Mol Biol. 38:743-753), promoters responsive to gibberellin (Shi et al. (1998) Plant Mol Biol. 38:1053-1060, Willmott et al. (1998) 38:817-825) and the like. Additional promoters are those that elicit expression in response to heat (Ainley et al. (1993) Plant Mol Biol. 22: 13-23), light (e.g., the pea rbcS-3A promoter, Kuhlemeier et al. (1989) Plant Cell 1:471, and the maize rbcS promoter, Schaffner and Sheen (1991) Plant Cell 3: 997); wounding (e.g., wunl, Siebertz et al. (1989) Plant Cell 1: 961); pathogens (such as the PR-1 promoter described in Buchel et al. (1999) Plant Mol. Biol. 40:387-396, and the PDF1.2 promoter described in Manners et al. (1998) Plant Mol. Biol. 38:1071-80), and chemicals such as methyl jasmonate or salicylic acid (Gatz et al. (1997) Plant Mol Biol. 48: 89-108). In addition, the timing of the expression can be controlled by using promoters such as those acting at senescence (An and Amazon (1995) Science 270: 1986-1988); or late seed development (Odell et al. (1994) Plant Physiol. 106:447-458).

Plant expression vectors can also include RNA processing signals that can be positioned within, upstream or downstream of the coding sequence. In addition, the expression vectors can include additional regulatory sequences from the 3′-untranslated region of plant genes, e.g., a 3′ terminator region to increase mRNA stability of the mRNA, such as the PI-II terminator region of potato or the octopine or nopaline synthase 3′ terminator regions.

Additional Expression Elements

Specific initiation signals can aid in efficient translation of coding sequences. These signals can include, e.g., the ATG initiation codon and adjacent sequences. In cases where a coding sequence, its initiation codon and upstream sequences are inserted into the appropriate expression vector, no additional translational control signals may be needed. However, in cases where only coding sequence (e.g., a mature protein coding sequence), or a portion thereof, is inserted, exogenous transcriptional control signals including the ATG initiation codon can be separately provided. The initiation codon is provided in the correct reading frame to facilitate transcription. Exogenous transcriptional elements and initiation codons can be of various origins, both natural and synthetic. The efficiency of expression can be enhanced by the inclusion of enhancers appropriate to the cell system in use.

Expression Hosts

The present invention also relates to host cells which are transduced with vectors of the invention, and the production of polypeptides of the invention (including fragments thereof) by recombinant techniques. Host cells are genetically engineered (i.e, nucleic acids are introduced, e.g., transduced, transformed or transfected) with the vectors of this invention, which may be, for example, a cloning vector or an expression vector comprising the relevant nucleic acids herein. The vector is optionally a plasmid, a viral particle, a phage, a naked nucleic acids, etc. The engineered host cells can be cultured in conventional nutrient media modified as appropriate for activating promoters, selecting transformants, or amplifying the relevant gene. The culture conditions, such as temperature, pH and the like, are those previously used with the host cell selected for expression, and will be apparent to those skilled in the art and in the references cited herein, including, Sambrook and Ausubel.

The host cell can be a eukaryotic cell, such as a yeast cell, or a plant cell, or the host cell can be a prokaryotic cell, such as a bacterial cell. Plant protoplasts are also suitable for some applications. For example, the DNA fragments are introduced into plant tissues, cultured plant cells or plant protoplasts by standard methods including electroporation (Fromm et al., (1985) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 82, 5824, infection by viral vectors such as cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) (Hohn et al., (1982) Molecular Biology of Plant Tumors, (Academic Press, New York) pp. 549-560; U.S. Pat. No. 4,407,956), high velocity ballistic penetration by small particles with the nucleic acid either within the matrix of small beads or particles, or on the surface (Klein et al., (1987) Nature327, 70-73), use of pollen as vector (WO 85/01856), or use of Agrobacterium tumefaciens or A. rhizogenes carrying a T-DNA plasmid in which DNA fragments are cloned. The T-DNA plasmid is transmitted to plant cells upon infection by Agrobacterium tumefaciens, and a portion is stably integrated into the plant genome (Horsch et al. (1984) Science233:496-498; Fraley et al. (1983) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 80, 4803).

The cell can include a nucleic acid of the invention which encodes a polypeptide, wherein the cells expresses a polypeptide of the invention. The cell can also include vector sequences, or the like. Furthermore, cells and transgenic plants which include any polypeptide or nucleic acid above or throughout this specification, e.g., produced by transduction of a vector of the invention, are an additional feature of the invention.

For long-term, high-yield production of recombinant proteins, stable expression can be used. Host cells transformed with a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide of the invention are optionally cultured under conditions suitable for the expression and recovery of the encoded protein from cell culture. The protein or fragment thereof produced by a recombinant cell may be secreted, membrane-bound, or contained intracellularly, depending on the sequence and/or the vector used. As will be understood by those of skill in the art, expression vectors containing polynucleotides encoding mature proteins of the invention can be designed with signal sequences which direct secretion of the mature polypeptides through a prokaryotic or eukaryotic cell membrane.

Modified Amino Acids

Polypeptides of the invention may contain one or more modified amino acids. The presence of modified amino acids may be advantageous in, for example, increasing polypeptide half-life, reducing polypeptide antigenicity or toxicity, increasing polypeptide storage stability, or the like. Amino acid(s) are modified, for example, co-translationally or post-translationally during recombinant production or modified by synthetic or chemical means.

Non-limiting examples of a modified amino acid include incorporation or other use of acetylated amino acids, glycosylated amino acids, sulfated amino acids, prenylated (e.g., farnesylated, geranylgeranylated) amino acids, PEG modified (e.g., “PEGylated”) amino acids, biotinylated amino acids, carboxylated amino acids, phosphorylated amino acids, etc. References adequate to guide one of skill in the modification of amino acids are replete throughout the literature.

Identification of Additional Factors

A transcription factor provided by the present invention can also be used to identify additional endogenous or exogenous molecules that can affect a phenotype or trait of interest. On the one hand, such molecules include organic (small or large molecules) and/or inorganic compounds that affect expression of (i.e., regulate) a particular transcription factor. Alternatively, such molecules include endogenous molecules that are acted upon either at a transcriptional level by a transcription factor of the invention to modify a phenotype as desired. For example, the transcription factors can be employed to identify one or more downstream gene with which is subject to a regulatory effect of the transcription factor. In one approach, a transcription factor or transcription factor homologue of the invention is expressed in a host cell, e.g, a transgenic plant cell, tissue or explant, and expression products, either RNA or protein, of likely or random targets are monitored, e.g., by hybridization to a microarray of nucleic acid probes corresponding to genes expressed in a tissue or cell type of interest, by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of protein products, or by any other method known in the art for assessing expression of gene products at the level of RNA or protein. Alternatively, a transcription factor of the invention can be used to identify promoter sequences (i.e., binding sites) involved in the regulation of a downstream target. After identifying a promoter sequence, interactions between the transcription factor and the promoter sequence can be modified by changing specific nucleotides in the promoter sequence or specific amino acids in the transcription factor that interact with the promoter sequence to alter a plant trait. Typically, transcription factor DNA binding sites are identified by gel shift assays. After identifying the promoter regions, the promoter region sequences can be employed in double-stranded DNA arrays to identify molecules that affect the interactions of the transcription factors with their promoters (Bulyk et al. (1999) Nature Biotechnol. 17:573-577).

The identified transcription factors are also useful to identify proteins that modify the activity of the transcription factor. Such modification can occur by covalent modification, such as by phosphorylation, or by protein-protein (homo or-heteropolymer) interactions. Any method suitable for detecting protein-protein interactions can be employed. Among the methods that can be employed are co-immunoprecipitation, cross-linking and co-purification through gradients or chromatographic columns, and the two-hybrid yeast system.

The two-hybrid system detects protein interactions in vivo and is described in Chien, et al., (1991), Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88, 9578-9582 and is commercially available from Clontech (Palo Alto, Calif.). In such a system, plasmids are constructed that encode two hybrid proteins: one consists of the DNA-binding domain of a transcription activator protein fused to the TF polypeptide and the other consists of the transcription activator protein's activation domain fused to an unknown protein that is encoded by a cDNA that has been recombined into the plasmid as part of a cDNA library. The DNA-binding domain fusion plasmid and the cDNA library are transformed into a strain of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae that contains a reporter gene (e.g., lacZ) whose regulatory region contains the transcription activator's binding site. Either hybrid protein alone cannot activate transcription of the reporter gene. Interaction of the two hybrid proteins reconstitutes the functional activator protein and results in expression of the reporter gene, which is detected by an assay for the reporter gene product. Then, the library plasmids responsible for reporter gene expression are isolated and sequenced to identify the proteins encoded by the library plasmids. After identifying proteins that interact with the transcription factors, assays for compounds that interfere with the TF protein-protein interactions can be preformed.

Identification of Modulators

In addition to the intracellular molecules described above, extracellular molecules that alter activity or expression of a transcription factor, either directly or indirectly, can be identified. For example, the methods can entail first placing a candidate molecule in contact with a plant or plant cell. The molecule can be introduced by topical administration, such as spraying or soaking of a plant, and then the molecule's effect on the expression or activity of the TF polypeptide or the expression of the polynucleotide monitored. Changes in the expression of the TF polypeptide can be monitored by use of polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies, gel electrophoresis or the like. Changes in the expression of the corresponding polynucleotide sequence can be detected by use of microarrays, Northern blots, quantitative PCR, or any other technique for monitoring changes in mRNA expression. These techniques are exemplified in Ausubel et al. (eds) Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley & Sons (1998). Such changes in the expression levels can be correlated with modified plant traits and thus identified molecules can be useful for soaking or spraying on fruit, vegetable and grain crops to modify traits in plants.

Essentially any available composition can be tested for modulatory activity of expression or activity of any nucleic acid or polypeptide herein. Thus, available libraries of compounds such as chemicals, polypeptides, nucleic acids and the like can be tested for modulatory activity. Often, potential modulator compounds can be dissolved in aqueous or organic (e.g., DMSO-based) solutions for easy delivery to the cell or plant of interest in which the activity of the modulator is to be tested. Optionally, the assays are designed to screen large modulator composition libraries by automating the assay steps and providing compounds from any convenient source to assays, which are typically run in parallel (e.g., in microtiter formats on microtiter plates in robotic assays).

In one embodiment, high throughput screening methods involve providing a combinatorial library containing a large number of potential compounds (potential modulator compounds). Such “combinatorial chemical libraries” are then screened in one or more assays, as described herein, to identify those library members (particular chemical species or subclasses) that display a desired characteristic activity. The compounds thus identified can serve as target compounds.

A combinatorial chemical library can be, e.g., a collection of diverse chemical compounds generated by chemical synthesis or biological synthesis. For example, a combinatorial chemical library such as a polypeptide library is formed by combining a set of chemical building blocks (e.g., in one example, amino acids) in every possible way for a given compound length (i.e., the number of amino acids in a polypeptide compound of a set length). Exemplary libraries include peptide libraries, nucleic acid libraries, antibody libraries (see, e.g., Vaughn et al. (1996) Nature Biotechnol. 14:309-314 and PCT/US96/10287), carbohydrate libraries (see, e.g., Liang et al. Science (1996) 274:1520-1522 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,593,853), peptide nucleic acid libraries (see, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,539,083), and small organic molecule libraries (see, e.g., benzodiazepines, Baum (1993) Chem Eng. News January 18, page 33; isoprenoids, U.S. Pat. No. 5,569,588; thiazolidinones and metathiazanones, U.S. Pat. No. 5,549,974; pyrrolidines, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,525,735 and 5,519,134; morpholino compounds, U.S. Pat. No. 5,506,337) and the like.

Preparation and screening of combinatorial or other libraries is well known to those of skill in the art. Such combinatorial chemical libraries include, but are not limited to, peptide libraries (see, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,010,175, Furka (1991) Int. J. Pept. Prot. Res. 37:487-493 and Houghton et al. Nature (1991) 354:84-88). Other chemistries for generating chemical diversity libraries can also be used.

In addition, as noted, compound screening equipment for high-throughput screening is generally available, e.g., using any of a number of well known robotic systems that have also been developed for solution phase chemistries useful in assay systems. These systems include automated workstations including an automated synthesis apparatus and robotic systems utilizing robotic arms. Any of the above devices are suitable for use with the present invention, e.g., for high-throughput screening of potential modulators. The nature and implementation of modifications to these devices (if any) so that they can operate as discussed herein will be apparent to persons skilled in the relevant art.

Indeed, entire high throughput screening systems are commercially available. These systems typically automate entire procedures including all sample and reagent pipetting, liquid dispensing, timed incubations, and final readings of the microplate in detector(s) appropriate for the assay. These configurable systems provide high throughput and rapid start up as well as a high degree of flexibility and customization. Similarly, microfluidic implementations of screening are also commercially available.

The manufacturers of such systems provide detailed protocols the various high throughput. Thus, for example, Zymark Corp. provides technical bulletins describing screening systems for detecting the modulation of gene transcription, ligand binding, and the like. The integrated systems herein, in addition to providing for sequence alignment and, optionally, synthesis of relevant nucleic acids, can include such screening apparatus to identify modulators that have an effect on one or more polynucleotides or polypeptides according to the present invention.

In some assays it is desirable to have positive controls to ensure that the components of the assays are working properly. At least two types of positive controls are appropriate. That is, known transcriptional activators or inhibitors can be incubated with cells/plants/etc. in one sample of the assay, and the resulting increase/decrease in transcription can be detected by measuring the resulting increase in RNA/protein expression, etc., according to the methods herein. It will be appreciated that modulators can also be combined with transcriptional activators or inhibitors to find modulators which inhibit transcriptional activation or transcriptional repression. Either expression of the nucleic acids and proteins herein or any additional nucleic acids or proteins activated by the nucleic acids or proteins herein, or both, can be monitored.

In an embodiment, the invention provides a method for identifying compositions that modulate the activity or expression of a polynucleotide or polypeptide of the invention. For example, a test compound, whether a small or large molecule, is placed in contact with a cell, plant (or plant tissue or explant), or composition comprising the polynucleotide or polypeptide of interest and a resulting effect on the cell, plant, (or tissue or explant) or composition is evaluated by monitoring, either directly or indirectly, one or more of: expression level of the polynucleotide or polypeptide, activity (or modulation of the activity) of the polynucleotide or polypeptide. In some cases, an alteration in a plant phenotype can be detected following contact of a plant (or plant cell, or tissue or explant) with the putative modulator, e.g., by modulation of expression or activity of a polynucleotide or polypeptide of the invention.

Subsequences

Also contemplated are uses of polynucleotides, also referred to herein as oligonucleotides, typically having at least 12 bases, preferably at least 15, more preferably at least 20, 30, or 50 bases, which hybridize under at least highly stringent (or ultra-high stringent or ultra-ultra-high stringent conditions) conditions to a polynucleotide sequence described above. The polynucleotides may be used as probes, primers, sense and antisense agents, and the like, according to methods as noted supra.

Subsequences of the polynucleotides of the invention, including polynucleotide fragments and oligonucleotides are useful as nucleic acid probes and primers. An oligonucleotide suitable for use as a probe or primer is at least about 15 nucleotides in length, more often at least about 18 nucleotides, often at least about 21 nucleotides, frequently at least about 30 nucleotides, or about 40 nucleotides, or more in length. A nucleic acid probe is useful in hybridization protocols, e.g., to identify additional polypeptide homologues of the invention, including protocols for microarray experiments. Primers can be annealed to a complementary target DNA strand by nucleic acid hybridization to form a hybrid between the primer and the target DNA strand, and then extended along the target DNA strand by a DNA polymerase enzyme. Primer pairs can be used for amplification of a nucleic acid sequence, e.g., by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or other nucleic-acid amplification methods. See Sambrook and Ausubel, supra.

In addition, the invention includes an isolated or recombinant polypeptide including a subsequence of at least about 15 contiguous amino acids encoded by the recombinant or isolated polynucleotides of the invention. For example, such polypeptides, or domains or fragments thereof, can be used as immunogens, e.g., to produce antibodies specific for the polypeptide sequence, or as probes for detecting a sequence of interest. A subsequence can range in size from about 15 amino acids in length up to and including the full length of the polypeptide.

Introduction to the GARP Family

The acronym GARP was adopted to describe this family of transcription factors based on three of the founding members of the family: maize GOLDEN2, the ARR B class of Arabidopsis response regulator homologs, and Psr1 of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Riechmann et al. (2000) Science 290:2105-2110). These proteins share a putative DNA binding domain with limited homology to the myb superfamily of transcription factors (Sakai et al. (1998) Plant Cell Physiol. 39: 1232-1239), particularly to a family of Myb-related proteins that includes the circadian regulatory protein CCA1 (Riechmann et al. 2000) supra). Distant homology of this domain is also evident to the TEA DNA binding domain found in a number of regulatory genes from fungi, insects, and mammals (Burglin (1991) Cell 66: 11-12; Hall et al. (1998) Plant Cell 10: 925-36). The TEA domain is predicted to form two a helices that are implicated in DNA binding (Burglin (1991) supra). For simplicity, this putative DNA binding domain is referred to as the GARP domain. The GARP domain is a highly conserved stretch of 49-50 amino acids that begins with an invariant tryptophan residue and ends in a motif with the consensus sequence SHLQKYRL (SEQ ID NO: 2008), in which the first four amino acids appear to be invariant.

The founding member of the GARP family is the maize GOLDEN2 (G2) gene (Hall et al. (1998) supra). Maize uses the C4 pathway of photosynthesis, where photosynthetic carbon fixation reactions are segregated between the mesophyll and bundle sheath cells. The g2 mutation perturbs the specialized development of the bundle sheath cells and expression of the C4 photosynthetic pathway enzymes. Evidence provided by G2-GUS fusions indicates that G2 is localized to the nucleus. The GARP domain was subsequently found in a Chlamydomonas reinhardtii protein, PSR1, that is a nuclear-localized regulator of phosphorus metabolism (Wykoff et al. (1999) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96: 15336-15341) as well as in a tobacco protein submitted to GenBank as a transfactor, WREBP-1 (acc. no. AB017693).

Fifty-six GARP genes are present in Arabidopsis, and these fall into two major classes. The first class consists of proteins that contain the GARP domain as the only recognizable motif (44 genes). G2, PSR1, and WREBP-1 are of this type. The second class also contains an N terminal domain with similarity to bacterial response regulators (12 genes). These proteins have been termed ARR for Arabidopsis Response Regulator (Sakai et al. (1998) supra), or ARP for Arabidopsis Receiver-like Protein (acc. no. AJ005194).

The response regulator class of GARP proteins is of particular interest because of the growing evidence that phosphorelay signal transduction systems, with homology to prokaryotic two-component systems, are functional in plants. The simplest bacterial two-component systems consist of a sensor kinase and a response regulator protein. The sensor kinase autophosphorylates on a histidine residue, and the rate of autophosphorylation is modified by input from a sensor domain. The phosphate group is then transferred to an aspartate residue on the response regulator. In prokaryotes the response regulator is usually a transcription factor that activates downstream responses, although some response regulators have different modes of action. Phosphorelay systems of greater complexity are known, where the phosphate is passed through one or more intermediary phosphotransmitter proteins before phosphorylation of the response regulator. Other variations include proteins with fused sensor kinase and receiver domains (hybrid kinases), and the Arabidopsis ETR1 protein is a eukaryotic example of this class (for reviews see D'Agostino and Kieber (1999) Trends Biochem Sci. 24: 452-456); Chang and Stewart (1998) Plant Physiol. 117: 723-731). The response regulator class of GARP proteins is a subset of a group of putative Arabidopsis response regulators that has been termed the type-B response regulators. The type-A response regulators in contrast lack a putative DNA binding domain (D'Agostino and Kieber (1999) supra). The type-B response regulators are likely to be the functional equivalents of bacterial response regulators, which receive a signal from a sensor kinase and activate transcription. ARR type-B proteins have been shown to bind DNA (Sakai et al. (2000) Plant J. 24: 703-711; Lohrmann et al. (2001) Mol. Genet. Genomics 265: 2-13), and to interact with histidine phosphotransmitter proteins (Imamura et al. (1999) Plant Cell Physiol. 40: 733-742).

Recent work implicates the response regulator GARP (ARR type-B) proteins in cytokinin signal transduction. ARR1, ARR2, and ARR10 activate transcription of the cytokinin-regulated type-A ARR gene ARR6 in protoplasts (Hwang and Sheen (2001) Nature 413: 383-389). The cytokinin receptor CRE1 was recently found to be a histidine kinase with fused receiver domains (Inoue et al. (2001) Nature 409: 1060-1063). A signal transduction pathway is postulated where CRE1 initiates a phosphorelay, the signal is transduced to the nucleus through histidine phosphotransmitter proteins, and these proteins interact with ARR type-B proteins to release these proteins from putative repressors, allowing them to activate transcription. Among the genes induced are those encoding ARR type-A proteins, which are thought to serve as negative feedback regulators of the pathway (Hwang and Sheen (2001) supra).

It should be noted that one Arabidopsis protein with a GARP domain, AT1, was identified in a screen for clones affecting cell shape when overexpressed in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Overexpression of AT1 caused disordered actin staining and cell elongation similar to the effects of overexpressing cytoskeletal components. On the basis of these results, AT1 was characterized as a putative cytoskeletal protein, and annotated as such in GenBank (Xia et al, (1996) Plant J. 10:761-769). However, the effects that AT1 overexpression produced could also be due to inappropriate activation of “S. pombe” genes. Because AT1 was the only annotated protein with a GARP domain in the database for some time, a number of Arabidopsis proteins with GARP domains were annotated as putative cytoskeletal proteins, even though the annotation of AT1 is tenuous.

G1435, SEQ ID NO: 1796, encoded by SEQ ID NO: 99, is an example of a GARP family transcription factor polypeptide. A number of sequences have been found in other plant species that are closely-related to G1435. Table 4 shows a number of polypeptides of the invention and includes the SEQ ID NO: (Column 1), the species from which the sequence was derived and the Gene Identifier (“GID”; Column 2), the percent identity of the polypeptide in Column 1 to the full length G1435 polypeptide, SEQ ID NO: 1, as determined by a BLASTp analysis with a wordlength (W) of 3, an expectation (E) of 10, and the BLOSUM62 scoring matrix Henikoff & Henikoff (1989) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89:10915; Column 3), the amino acid residue coordinates for the respective conserved GARP domains, in amino acid coordinates beginning at the n-terminus, of each of the sequences (Column 4) , the conserved GARP domain sequences of the respective polypeptides (Column 5); the SEQ ID NO: of each of the GARP domains (Column 6), and the percentage identity of the conserved GARP domain in Column 5 to the conserved GARP domain, SEQ ID NO: 1995, in the Arabidopsis G1435 sequence, SEQ ID NO: 1796 (Column 7; determined by BLASTp analysis as indicated above).

TABLE 4
Conserved domains and potentially valuable morphological traits of G1435
and closely related sequences
Column 3
Percent
identity ofColumn 7
polypeptide Percent
in Column 1identity of
to G1435Column 4 conserved
Column 1(identicalGARPColumn 6domain in
Poly-residues/domainSEQ IDColumn 5 to
peptideColumn 2total number in aminoColumn 5NO: ofconserved
SEQ IDSpecies/of residues acid co-ConservedGARPdomain
NO:GID No. compared)ordinatesGARP domaindomainof G1435
1796At/G1435100%146-194WTPQLHKRFVDVVAH1995100%
(298/298)LGIKNAVPKTIMQLM(49/49)
NVEGLTRENVASHLQ
KYRL
1984At/G2741 61%149-197WTPQLHKRFVDVVAH1996100%
(205/331)LGIKNAVPKTIMQLM(49/49)
NVEGLTRENVASHLQ
KYRL
1986Gm/G4243 53%148-196WTPQLHKRFVDVVAH1997100%
(147/274)LGIKNAVPKTIMQLM(49/49)
NVEGLTRENVASHLQ
KYRL
1988Gm/G4244 56%149-197WTPQLHKRFVDVVAH1998100%
(141/250)LGIKNAVPKTIMQLM(49/49)
NVEGLTRENVASHLQ
KYRL
1994Zm/G4240 50%141-189WTPQLHKRFVDVVAH2001 97%
(130/257)LGMKNAVPKTIMQLM(47/49)
NVEGLTRENVASHLQ
KYRL
1992Os/G4241 56%123-171WTPQLHKRFVEVVAH
(119/212)LGMKNAVPKTIMQLM2000 95%
NVEGLTRENVASHLQ(47/49)
KYRL
1990Le/G4245 46%155-203WTPQLHKRFIEVVAHL1999 91%
(146/317)GIKGAVPKTIMQLMN(45/49)
VEGLTRENVAGHLQK
YRL
Species abbreviations for Table 4: At—Arabidopsis thaliana; Gm—Glycine max; Le—Lycopersicon esculentum; Os—Oryza sativa; Zm—Zea mays.

Production of Transgenic Plants

Modification of Traits

The polynucleotides of the invention are favorably employed to produce transgenic plants with various traits, or characteristics, that have been modified in a desirable manner, e.g., to improve the seed characteristics of a plant. For example, alteration of expression levels or patterns (e.g., spatial or temporal expression patterns) of one or more of the transcription factors (or transcription factor homologues) of the invention, as compared with the levels of the same protein found in a control or a wild type plant, can be used to modify a plant's traits. An illustrative example of trait modification, improved characteristics, by altering expression levels of a particular transcription factor is described further in the Examples and the Sequence Listing.

Antisense and Cosuppression Approaches

In addition to expression of the nucleic acids of the invention as gene replacement or plant phenotype modification nucleic acids, the nucleic acids are also useful for sense and anti-sense suppression of expression, e.g., to down-regulate expression of a nucleic acid of the invention, e.g., as a further mechanism for modulating plant phenotype. That is, the nucleic acids of the invention, or subsequences or anti-sense sequences thereof, can be used to block expression of naturally occurring homologous nucleic acids. A variety of sense and anti-sense technologies are known in the art, e.g., as set forth in Lichtenstein and Nellen (1997) Antisense Technology: A Practical Approach IRL Press at Oxford University, Oxford, England. In general, sense or anti-sense sequences are introduced into a cell, where they are optionally amplified, e.g., by transcription. Such sequences include both simple oligonucleotide sequences and catalytic sequences such as ribozymes.

For example, a reduction or elimination of expression (i.e., a “knock-out”) of a transcription factor or transcription factor homologue polypeptide in a transgenic plant, e.g., to modify a plant trait, can be obtained by introducing an antisense construct corresponding to the polypeptide of interest as a cDNA. For antisense suppression, the transcription factor or homologue cDNA is arranged in reverse orientation (with respect to the coding sequence) relative to the promoter sequence in the expression vector. The introduced sequence need not be the full length cDNA or gene, and need not be identical to the cDNA or gene found in the plant type to be transformed. Typically, the antisense sequence need only be capable of hybridizing to the target gene or RNA of interest. Thus, where the introduced sequence is of shorter length, a higher degree of homology to the endogenous transcription factor sequence will be needed for effective antisense suppression. While antisense sequences of various lengths can be utilized, preferably, the introduced antisense sequence in the vector will be at least 30 nucleotides in length, and improved antisense suppression will typically be observed as the length of the antisense sequence increases. Preferably, the length of the antisense sequence in the vector will be greater than 100 nucleotides. Transcription of an antisense construct as described results in the production of RNA molecules that are the reverse complement of mRNA molecules transcribed from the endogenous transcription factor gene in the plant cell.

Suppression of endogenous transcription factor gene expression can also be achieved using a ribozyme. Ribozymes are RNA molecules that possess highly specific endoribonuclease activity. The production and use of ribozymes are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,987,071 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,543,508. Synthetic ribozyme sequences including antisense RNAs can be used to confer RNA cleaving activity on the antisense RNA, such that endogenous mRNA molecules that hybridize to the antisense RNA are cleaved, which in turn leads to an enhanced antisense inhibition of endogenous gene expression.

Vectors in which RNA encoded by a transcription factor or transcription factor homologue cDNA is over-expressed can also be used to obtain co-suppression of a corresponding endogenous gene, e.g., in the manner described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,231,020 to Jorgensen. Such co-suppression (also termed sense suppression) does not require that the entire transcription factor cDNA be introduced into the plant cells, nor does it require that the introduced sequence be exactly identical to the endogenous transcription factor gene of interest. However, as with antisense suppression, the suppressive efficiency will be enhanced as specificity of hybridization is increased, e.g., as the introduced sequence is lengthened, and/or as the sequence similarity between the introduced sequence and the endogenous transcription factor gene is increased.

Vectors expressing an untranslatable form of the transcription factor mRNA, e.g., sequences comprising one or more stop codon, or nonsense mutation) can also be used to suppress expression of an endogenous transcription factor, thereby reducing or eliminating it's activity and modifying one or more traits. Methods for producing such constructs are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,583,021. Preferably, such constructs are made by introducing a premature stop codon into the transcription factor gene. Alternatively, a plant trait can be modified by gene silencing using double-strand RNA (Sharp (1999) Genes Dev. 13: 139-141).

Another method for abolishing the expression of a gene is by insertion mutagenesis using the T-DNA of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. After generating the insertion mutants, the mutants can be screened to identify those containing the insertion in a transcription factor or transcription factor homologue gene. Plants containing a single transgene insertion event at the desired gene can be crossed to generate homozygous plants for the mutation (Koncz et al. (1992) Methods in Arabidopsis Research, World Scientific).

Alternatively, a plant phenotype can be altered by eliminating an endogenous gene, such as a transcription factor or transcription factor homologue, e.g., by homologous recombination (Kempin et al. (1997) Nature 389:802).

A plant trait can also be modified by using the cre-lox system (for example, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,658,772). A plant genome can be modified to include first and second lox sites that are then contacted with a Cre recombinase. If the lox sites are in the same orientation, the intervening DNA sequence between the two sites is excised. If the lox sites are in the opposite orientation, the intervening sequence is inverted.

The polynucleotides and polypeptides of this invention can also be expressed in a plant in the absence of an expression cassette by manipulating the activity or expression level of the endogenous gene by other means. For example, by ectopically expressing a gene by T-DNA activation tagging (Ichikawa et al. (1997) Nature 390 698-701; Kakimoto et al. (1996) Science 274: 982-985). This method entails transforming a plant with a gene tag containing multiple transcriptional enhancers and once the tag has inserted into the genome, expression of a flanking gene coding sequence becomes deregulated. In another example, the transcriptional machinery in a plant can be modified so as to increase transcription levels of a polynucleotide of the invention (See, e.g., PCT Publications WO 96/06166 and WO 98/53057 which describe the modification of the DNA binding specificity of zinc finger proteins by changing particular amino acids in the DNA binding motif).

The transgenic plant can also include the machinery necessary for expressing or altering the activity of a polypeptide encoded by an endogenous gene, for example by altering the phosphorylation state of the polypeptide to maintain it in an activated state.

Transgenic plants (or plant cells, or plant explants, or plant tissues) incorporating the polynucleotides of the invention and/or expressing the polypeptides of the invention can be produced by a variety of well established techniques as described above. Following construction of a vector, most typically an expression cassette, including a polynucleotide, e.g., encoding a transcription factor or transcription factor homologue, of the invention, standard techniques can be used to introduce the polynucleotide into a plant, a plant cell, a plant explant or a plant tissue of interest. Optionally, the plant cell, explant or tissue can be regenerated to produce a transgenic plant.

The plant can be any higher plant, including gymnosperms, monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants. Suitable protocols are available for Leguminosae (alfalfa, soybean, clover, etc.), Umbelliferae (carrot, celery, parsnip), Cruciferae (cabbage, radish, rapeseed, broccoli, etc.), Curcurbitaceae (melons and cucumber), Gramineae (wheat, corn, rice, barley, millet, etc.), Solanaceae (potato, tomato, tobacco, peppers, etc.), and various other crops. See protocols described in Ammirato et al. (1984) Handbook of Plant Cell Culture-Crop Species. Macmillan Publ. Co. Shimamoto et al. (1989) Nature338:274-276; Fromm et al. (1990) Bio/Technology 8:833-839; and Vasil et al. (1990) Bio/Technology 8:429-434.

Transformation and regeneration of both monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plant cells is now routine, and the selection of the most appropriate transformation technique will be determined by the practitioner. The choice of method will vary with the type of plant to be transformed; those skilled in the art will recognize the suitability of particular methods for given plant types. Suitable methods can include, but are not limited to: electroporation of plant protoplasts; liposome-mediated transformation; polyethylene glycol (PEG) mediated transformation; transformation using viruses; micro-injection of plant cells; micro-projectile bombardment of plant cells; vacuum infiltration; and Agrobacterium tumeficiens mediated transformation. Transformation means introducing a nucleotide sequence in a plant in a manner to cause stable or transient expression of the sequence.

Successful examples of the modification of plant characteristics by transformation with cloned sequences which serve to illustrate the current knowledge in this field of technology, and which are herein incorporated by reference, include: U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,571,706; 5,677,175; 5,510,471; 5,750,386; 5,597,945; 5,589,615; 5,750,871; 5,268,526; 5,780,708; 5,538,880; 5,773,269; 5,736,369 and 5,610,042.

Following transformation, plants are preferably selected using a dominant selectable marker incorporated into the transformation vector. Typically, such a marker will confer antibiotic or herbicide resistance on the transformed plants, and selection of transformants can be accomplished by exposing the plants to appropriate concentrations of the antibiotic or herbicide.

After transformed plants are selected and grown to maturity, those plants showing a modified trait are identified. The modified trait can be any of those traits described above. Additionally, to confirm that the modified trait is due to changes in expression levels or activity of the polypeptide or polynucleotide of the invention can be determined by analyzing mRNA expression using Northern blots, RT-PCR or microarrays, or protein expression using immunoblots or Western blots or gel shift assays.

Integrated Systems—Sequence Identity

Additionally, the present invention may be an integrated system, computer or computer readable medium that comprises an instruction set for determining the identity of one or more sequences in a database. In addition, the instruction set can be used to generate or identify sequences that meet any specified criteria. Furthermore, the instruction set may be used to associate or link certain functional benefits, such improved characteristics, with one or more identified sequence.

For example, the instruction set can include, e.g., a sequence comparison or other alignment program, e.g., an available program such as, for example, the Wisconsin Package Version 10.0, such as BLAST, FASTA, PILEUP, FINDPATTERNS or the like (GCG, Madison, Wis.). Public sequence databases such as GenBank, EMBL, Swiss-Prot and PIR or private sequence databases such as PhytoSeq (Incyte Pharmaceuticals, Palo Alto, Calif.) can be searched.

Alignment of sequences for comparison can be conducted by the local homology algorithm of Smith and Waterman (1981) Adv. Appl. Math. 2:482, by the homology alignment algorithm of Needleman and Wunsch (1970) J. Mol. Biol. 48:443, by the search for similarity method of Pearson and Lipman (1988) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 85: 2444, by computerized implementations of these algorithms. After alignment, sequence comparisons between two (or more) polynucleotides or polypeptides are typically performed by comparing sequences of the two sequences over a comparison window to identify and compare local regions of sequence similarity. The comparison window can be a segment of at least about 20 contiguous positions, usually about 50 to about 200, more usually about 100 to about 150 contiguous positions. A description of the method is provided in Ausubel et al., supra.

A variety of methods of determining sequence relationships can be used, including manual alignment and computer assisted sequence alignment and analysis. This later approach is a preferred approach in the present invention, due to the increased throughput afforded by computer assisted methods. As noted above, a variety of computer programs for performing sequence alignment are available, or can be produced by one of skill.

One example algorithm that is suitable for determining percent sequence identity and sequence similarity is the BLAST algorithm, which is described in Altschul et al. J. Mol. Biol.215:403-410 (1990). Software for performing BLAST analyses is publicly available, e.g., through the National Center for Biotechnology Information (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/). This algorithm involves first identifying high scoring sequence pairs (HSPs) by identifying short words of length W in the query sequence, which either match or satisfy some positive-valued threshold score T when aligned with a word of the same length in a database sequence. T is referred to as the neighborhood word score threshold (Altschul et al., supra). These initial neighborhood word hits act as seeds for initiating searches to find longer HSPs containing them. The word hits are then extended in both directions along each sequence for as far as the cumulative alignment score can be increased. Cumulative scores are calculated using, for nucleotide sequences, the parameters M (reward score for a pair of matching residues; always >0) and N (penalty score for mismatching residues; always <0). For amino acid sequences, a scoring matrix is used to calculate the cumulative score. Extension of the word hits in each direction are halted when: the cumulative alignment score falls off by the quantity X from its maximum achieved value; the cumulative score goes to zero or below, due to the accumulation of one or more negative-scoring residue alignments; or the end of either sequence is reached. The BLAST algorithm parameters W, T, and X determine the sensitivity and speed of the alignment. The BLASTN program (for nucleotide sequences) uses as defaults a wordlength (W) of 11, an expectation (E) of 10, a cutoff of 100, M=5, N=−4, and a comparison of both strands. For amino acid sequences, the BLASTP program uses as defaults a wordlength (W) of 3, an expectation (E) of 10, and the BLOSUM62 scoring matrix (see Henikoff & Henikoff (1989) supra).

In addition to calculating percent sequence identity, the BLAST algorithm also performs a statistical analysis of the similarity between two sequences (see, e.g., Karlin & Altschul (1993) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90:5873-5787). One measure of similarity provided by the BLAST algorithm is the smallest sum probability (P(N)), which provides an indication of the probability by which a match between two nucleotide or amino acid sequences would occur by chance. For example, a nucleic acid is considered similar to a reference sequence (and, therefore, in this context, homologous) if the smallest sum probability in a comparison of the test nucleic acid to the reference nucleic acid is less than about 0.1, or less than about 0.01, and or even less than about 0.001. An additional example of a useful sequence alignment algorithm is PILEUP. PILEUP creates a multiple sequence alignment from a group of related sequences using progressive, pairwise alignments. The program can align, e.g., up to 300 sequences of a maximum length of 5,000 letters.

The integrated system, or computer typically includes a user input interface allowing a user to selectively view one or more sequence records corresponding to the one or more character strings, as well as an instruction set which aligns the one or more character strings with each other or with an additional character string to identify one or more region of sequence similarity. The system may include a link of one or more character strings with a particular phenotype or gene function. Typically, the system includes a user readable output element which displays an alignment produced by the alignment instruction set.

The methods of this invention can be implemented in a localized or distributed computing environment. In a distributed environment, the methods may implemented on a single computer comprising multiple processors or on a multiplicity of computers. The computers can be linked, e.g. through a common bus, but more preferably the computer(s) are nodes on a network. The network can be a generalized or a dedicated local or wide-area network and, in certain preferred embodiments, the computers may be components of an intra-net or an internet.

Thus, the invention provides methods for identifying a sequence similar or homologous to one or more polynucleotides as noted herein, or one or more target polypeptides encoded by the polynucleotides, or otherwise noted herein and may include linking or associating a given plant phenotype or gene function with a sequence. In the methods, a sequence database is provided (locally or across an inter or intra net) and a query is made against the sequence database using the relevant sequences herein and associated plant phenotypes or gene functions.

Any sequence herein can be entered into the database, before or after querying the database. This provides for both expansion of the database and, if done before the querying step, for insertion of control sequences into the database. The control sequences can be detected by the query to ensure the general integrity of both the database and the query. As noted, the query can be performed using a web browser based interface. For example, the database can be a centralized public database such as those noted herein, and the querying can be done from a remote terminal or computer across an internet or intranet.

EXAMPLES

The following examples are intended to illustrate but not limit the present invention.

Example I

Full Length Gene Identification and Cloning

Putative transcription factor sequences (genomic or ESTs) related to known transcription factors were identified in the Arabidopsis thaliana GenBank database using the tblastn sequence analysis program using default parameters and a P-value cutoff threshold of −4 or −5 or lower, depending on the length of the query sequence. Putative transcription factor sequence hits were then screened to identify those containing particular sequence strings. If the sequence hits contained such sequence strings, the sequences were confirmed as transcription factors.

Alternatively, Arabidopsis thaliana cDNA libraries derived from different tissues or treatments, or genomic libraries were screened to identify novel members of a transcription family using a low stringency hybridization approach. Probes were synthesized using gene specific primers in a standard PCR reaction (annealing temperature 60° C.) and labeled with 32P dCTP using the High Prime DNA Labeling Kit (Boehringer Mannheim). Purified radiolabelled probes were added to filters immersed in Church hybridization medium (0.5 M NaPO4 pH 7.0, 7% SDS, 1% w/v bovine serum albumin) and hybridized overnight at 60° C. with shaking. Filters were washed two times for 45 to 60 minutes with 1× SCC, 1% SDS at 60° C.

To identify additional sequence 5′ or 3′ of a partial cDNA sequence in a cDNA library, 5′ and 3′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) was performed using the Marathon™ cDNA amplification kit (Clontech, Palo Alto, Calif.). Generally, the method entailed first isolating poly(A) mRNA, performing first and second strand cDNA synthesis to generate double stranded cDNA, blunting cDNA ends, followed by ligation of the Marathon™ Adaptor to the cDNA to form a library of adaptor-ligated ds cDNA.

Gene-specific primers were designed to be used along with adaptor specific primers for both 5′ and 3′ RACE reactions. Nested primers, rather than single primers, were used to increase PCR specificity. Using 5′ and 3′ RACE reactions, 5′ and 3′ RACE fragments were obtained, sequenced and cloned. The process can be repeated until 5′ and 3′ ends of the full-length gene were identified. Then the full-length cDNA was generated by PCR using primers specific to 5′ and 3′ ends of the gene by end-to-end PCR.

Example II

Construction of Expression Vectors

The sequence was amplified from a genomic or cDNA library using primers specific to sequences upstream and downstream of the coding region. The expression vector was pMEN20 or pMEN65, which are both derived from pMON316 (Sanders et al, (1987) Nucleic Acids Res. 15:1543-58) and contain the CaMV 35S promoter to express transgenes. To clone the sequence into the vector, both pMEN20 and the amplified DNA fragment were digested separately with SalI and NotI restriction enzymes at 37° C. for 2 hours. The digestion products were subject to electrophoresis in a 0.8% agarose gel and visualized by ethidium bromide staining. The DNA fragments containing the sequence and the linearized plasmid were excised and purified by using a Qiaquick gel extraction kit (Qiagen, Calif.). The fragments of interest were ligated at a ratio of 3:1 (vector to insert). Ligation reactions using T4 DNA ligase (New England Biolabs, Mass.) were carried out at 16° C. for 16 hours. The ligated DNAs were transformed into competent cells of the E. coli strain DH5alpha by using the heat shock method. The transformations were plated on LB plates containing 50 mg/l kanamycin (Sigma).

Individual colonies were grown overnight in five milliliters of LB broth containing 50 mg/l kanamycin at 37° C. Plasmid DNA was purified by using Qiaquick Mini Prep kits (Qiagen, Calif.).

Example III

Transformation of Agrobacterium with the Expression Vector

After the plasmid vector containing the gene was constructed, the vector was used to transform Agrobacterium tumefaciens cells expressing the gene products. The stock of Agrobacterium tumefaciens cells for transformation was made as described by Nagel et al. (1990) FEMS MicroBiol. Letts. 67: 325-328. Agrobacterium strain ABI was grown in 250 ml LB medium (Sigma) overnight at 28° C. with shaking until an absorbance (A600) of 0.5-1.0 was reached. Cells were harvested by centrifugation at 4,000 × g for 15 min at 4° C. Cells were then resuspended in 250 μl chilled buffer (1 mM HEPES, pH adjusted to 7.0 with KOH). Cells were centrifuged again as described above and resuspended in 125 μl chilled buffer. Cells were then centrifuged and resuspended two more times in the same HEPES buffer as described above at a volume of 100 μl and 750 μl, respectively. Resuspended cells were then distributed into 40 μl aliquots, quickly frozen in liquid nitrogen, and stored at −80° C.

Agrobacterium cells were transformed with plasmids prepared as described above following the protocol described by Nagel et al. For each DNA construct to be transformed, 50-100 ng DNA (generally resuspended in 10 mM Tris-HCl, 1 mM EDTA, pH 8.0) was mixed with 40 μl of Agrobacterium cells. The DNA/cell mixture was then transferred to a chilled cuvette with a 2 mm electrode gap and subject to a 2.5 kV charge dissipated at 25 μF and 200 μF using a Gene Pulser II apparatus (Bio-Rad). After electroporation, cells were immediately resuspended in 1.0 ml LB and allowed to recover without antibiotic selection for 2 -4 hours at 28° C. in a shaking incubator. After recovery, cells were plated onto selective medium of LB broth containing 100 μg/ml spectinomycin (Sigma) and incubated for 24-48 hours at 28° C. Single colonies were then picked and inoculated in fresh medium. The presence of the plasmid construct was verified by PCR amplification and sequence analysis.

Example IV

Transformation of Arabidopsis Plants with Agrobacterium tumefaciens with Expression Vector

After transformation of Agrobacterium tumefaciens with plasmid vectors containing the gene, single Agrobacterium colonies were identified, propagated, and used to transform Arabidopsis plants. Briefly, 500 ml cultures of LB medium containing 50 mg/l kanamycin were inoculated with the colonies and grown at 28° C. with shaking for 2 days until an absorbance (A600) of >2.0 is reached. Cells were then harvested by centrifugation at 4,000× g for 10 min, and resuspended in infiltration medium (½ X Murashige and Skoog salts (Sigma), 1 X Gamborg's B-5 vitamins (Sigma), 5.0% (w/v) sucrose (Sigma), 0.044 μM benzylamino purine (Sigma), 200 μL Silwet L-77 (Lehle Seeds) until an absorbance (A600) of 0.8 was reached.

Prior to transformation, Arabidopsis thaliana seeds (ecotype Columbia) were sown at a density of ˜10 plants per 4″ pot onto Pro-Mix BX potting medium (Hummert International) covered with fiberglass mesh (18 mm×16 mm). Plants were grown under continuous illumination (50-75 μE/m2/sec) at 22-23° C. with 65-70% relative humidity. After about 4 weeks, primary inflorescence stems (bolts) are cut off to encourage growth of multiple secondary bolts. After flowering of the mature secondary bolts, plants were prepared for transformation by removal of all siliques and opened flowers.

The pots were then immersed upside down in the mixture of Agrobacterium infiltration medium as described above for 30 sec, and placed on their sides to allow draining into a 1′×2′ flat surface covered with plastic wrap. After 24 h, the plastic wrap was removed and pots are turned upright. The immersion procedure was repeated one week later, for a total of two immersions per pot. Seeds were then collected from each transformation pot and analyzed following the protocol described below.

Example V

Identification of Arabidopsis Primary Transformants

Seeds collected from the transformation pots were sterilized essentially as follows. Seeds were dispersed into in a solution containing 0.1% (v/v) Triton X-100 (Sigma) and sterile H2O and washed by shaking the suspension for 20 min. The wash solution was then drained and replaced with fresh wash solution to wash the seeds for 20 min with shaking. After removal of the second wash solution, a solution containing 0.1% (v/v) Triton X-100 and 70% ethanol (Equistar) was added to the seeds and the suspension was shaken for 5 min. After removal of the ethanol/detergent solution, a solution containing 0.1% (v/v) Triton X-100 and 30% (v/v) bleach (Clorox) was added to the seeds, and the suspension was shaken for 10 min. After removal of the bleach/detergent solution, seeds were then washed five times in sterile distilled H2O. The seeds were stored in the last wash water at 4° C. for 2 days in the dark before being plated onto antibiotic selection medium (1 X Murashige and Skoog salts (pH adjusted to 5.7 with 1M KOH), 1 X Gamborg's B-5 vitamins, 0.9% phytagar (Life Technologies), and 50 mg/l kanamycin). Seeds were germinated under continuous illumination (50-75 μE/m2/sec) at 22-23° C. After 7-10 days of growth under these conditions, kanamycin resistant primary transformants (T1 generation) were visible and obtained. These seedlings were transferred first to fresh selection plates where the seedlings continued to grow for 3-5 more days, and then to soil (Pro-Mix BX potting medium).

Primary transformants were crossed and progeny seeds (T2) collected; kanamycin resistant seedlings were selected and analyzed. The expression levels of the recombinant polynucleotides in the transformants vary from about a 5% expression level increase to a least a 100% expression level increase. Similar observations are made with respect to polypeptide level expression.

Example VI

Identification of Arabidopsis Plants with Transcription Factor Gene Knockouts

The screening of insertion mutagenized Arabidopsis collections for null mutants in a known target gene was essentially as described in Krysan et al (1999) Plant Cell 11:2283-2290. Briefly, gene-specific primers, nested by 5-250 base pairs to each other, were designed from the 5′ and 3′ regions of a known target gene. Similarly, nested sets of primers were also created specific to each of the T-DNA or transposon ends (the “right” and “left” borders). All possible combinations of gene specific and T-DNA/transposon primers were used to detect by PCR an insertion event within or close to the target gene. The amplified DNA fragments were then sequenced which allows the precise determination of the T-DNA/transposon insertion point relative to the target gene. Insertion events within the coding or intervening sequence of the genes were deconvoluted from a pool comprising a plurality of insertion events to a single unique mutant plant for functional characterization. The method is described in more detail in Yu and Adam, U.S. application Ser. No. 09/177,733 filed Oct. 23, 1998.

Example VII

Identification of Modified Phenotype in Overexpressor or Gene Knockout Plants

Experiments were performed to identify those transformants or knockouts that exhibited modified biochemical characteristics. Among the biochemicals that were assayed were insoluble sugars, such as arabinose, fucose, galactose, mannose, rhamnose or xylose or the like; prenyl lipids, such as lutein, β-carotene, xanthophyll-1, xanthophyll-2, chlorophylls A or B, or α-, δ- or γ-tocopherol or the like; fatty acids, such as 16:0 (palmitic acid), 16:1 (palmitoleic acid), 18:0 (stearic acid), 18:1 (oleic acid), 18:2 (linoleic acid), 20:0 , 18:3 (linolenic acid), 20:1 (eicosenoic acid), 20:2, 22:1 (erucic acid) or the like; waxes, such as by altering the levels of C29, C31, or C33 alkanes; sterols, such as brassicasterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, sitosterol or stigmastanol or the like, glucosinolates, protein or oil levels

Fatty acids were measured using two methods depending on whether the tissue was from leaves or seeds. For leaves, lipids were extracted and esterified with hot methanolic H2SO4 and partitioned into hexane from methanolic brine. For seed fatty acids, seeds were pulverized and extracted in methanol:heptane:toluene:2,2-dimethoxypropane:H2SO4 (39:34:20:5:2) for 90 minutes at 80° C. After cooling to room temperature the upper phase, containing the seed fatty acid esters, was subjected to GC analysis. Fatty acid esters from both seed and leaf tissues were analyzed with a Supelco SP-2330 column.

Glucosinolates were purified from seeds or leaves by first heating the tissue at 95° C. for 10 minutes. Preheated ethanol:water (50:50) is and after heating at 95° C. for a further 10 minutes, the extraction solvent is applied to a DEAE Sephadex column which had been previously equilibrated with 0.5 M pyridine acetate. Desulfoglucosinolates were eluted with 300 μl water and analyzed by reverse phase HPLC monitoring at 226 nm.

For wax alkanes, samples were extracted using an identical method as fatty acids and extracts were analyzed on a HP 5890 GC coupled with a 5973 MSD. Samples were chromatographed on a J&W DB35 mass spectrometer (J&W Scientific).

To measure prenyl lipids levels, seeds or leaves were pulverized with 1 to 2% pyrogallol as an antioxidant. For seeds, extracted samples were filtered and a portion removed for tocopherol and carotenoid/chlorophyll analysis by HPLC. The remaining material was saponified for sterol determination. For leaves, an aliquot was removed and diluted with methanol and chlorophyll A, chlorophyll B, and total carotenoids measured by spectrophotometry by determining absorbance at 665.2 nm, 652.5 nm, and 470 nm. An aliquot was removed for tocopherol and carotenoid/chlorophyll composition by HPLC using a Waters μBondapak® C18 column (4.6 mm×150 mm). The remaining methanolic solution was saponified with 10% KOH at 80° C. for one hour. The samples were cooled and diluted with a mixture of methanol and water. A solution of 2% methylene chloride in hexane was mixed in and the samples were centrifuged. The aqueous methanol phase was again re-extracted 2% methylene chloride in hexane and, after centrifugation, the two upper phases were combined and evaporated. 2% methylene chloride in hexane was added to the tubes and the samples were then extracted with one ml of water. The upper phase was removed, dried, and resuspended in 400 μl of 2% methylene chloride in hexane and analyzed by gas chromatography using a 50 m DB-5 ms (0.25 mm ID, 0.25 um phase, J&W Scientific).

Insoluble sugar levels were measured by the method essentially described by Reiter et al. Plant J. 12:335-345. This method analyzes the neutral sugar composition of cell wall polymers found in Arabidopsis leaves. Soluble sugars were separated from sugar polymers by extracting leaves with hot 70% ethanol. The remaining residue containing the insoluble polysaccharides was then acid hydrolyzed with allose added as an internal standard. Sugar monomers generated by the hydrolysis were then reduced to the corresponding alditols by treatment with NaBH4, then were acetylated to generate the volatile alditol acetates which were then analyzed by GC-FID. Identity of the peaks was determined by comparing the retention times of known sugars converted to the corresponding alditol acetates with the retention times of peaks from wild-type plant extracts. Alditol acetates were analyzed on a Supelco SP-2330 capillary column (30 m×250 um×0.2 um) using a temperature program beginning at 180° C. for 2 minutes followed by an increase to 220° C. in 4 minutes. After holding at 220° C. for 10 minutes, the oven temperature is increased to 240° C. in 2 minutes and held at this temperature for 10 minutes and brought back to room temperature.

To identify plants with alterations in total seed oil or protein content, 150 mg of seeds from T2 progeny plants were subjected to analysis by Near Infrared Reflectance (NIR) using a Foss NirSystems Model 6500 with a spinning cup transport system.

Experiments were performed to identify those transformants or knockouts that exhibited an improved pathogen tolerance. For such studies, the transformants were exposed to biotropic fungal pathogens, such as Erysiphe orontii, and necrotropic fungal pathogens, such as Fusarium oxysporum. Fusarium oxysporum isolates cause vascular wilts and damping off of various annual vegetables, perennials and weeds (Mauch-Mani and Slusarenko (1994) Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 7: 378-383). For Fusarium oxysporum experiments, plants grown on Petri dishes were sprayed with a fresh spore suspension of F. oxysporum. The spore suspension was prepared as follows: A plug of fungal hyphae from a plate culture was placed on a fresh potato dextrose agar plate and allowed to spread for one week. 5 ml sterile water was then added to the plate, swirled, and pipetted into 50 ml Armstrong Fusarium medium. Spores were grown overnight in Fusarium medium and then sprayed onto plants using a Preval paint sprayer. Plant tissue was harvested and frozen in liquid nitrogen 48 hours post infection.

Erysiphe orontii is a causal agent of powdery mildew. For Erysiphe orontii experiments, plants were grown approximately 4 weeks in a greenhouse under 12 hour light (20 C, −30% relative humidity (rh)). Individual leaves were infected with E. orontii spores from infected plants using a camel's hair brush, and the plants were transferred to a Percival growth chamber (20 C, 80% rh.). Plant tissue was harvested and frozen in liquid nitrogen 7 days post infection.

Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic pathogen. Botrytis cinerea was grown on potato dextrose agar in the light. A spore culture was made by spreading 10 ml of sterile water on the fungus plate, swirling and transferring spores to 10 ml of sterile water. The spore inoculum (approx. 105 spores/ml) was used to spray 10 day-old seedlings grown under sterile conditions on MS (-sucrose) media. Symptoms were evaluated every day up to approximately 1 week.

Infection with bacterial pathogens Pseudomonas syringae pv maculicola strain 4326 and pv maculicola strain 4326 was performed by hand inoculation at two doses. Administration of two inoculation doses allows the differentiation between plants with enhanced susceptibility and plants with enhanced resistance to the pathogen. Plants were grown for 3 weeks in the greenhouse, then transferred to the growth chamber for the remainder of their growth. Psm ES4326 was hand inoculated with 1 ml syringe on 3 fully-expanded leaves per plant (4 ½ wk old), using at least 9 plants per overexpressing line at two inoculation doses, OD=0.005 and OD=0.0005. Disease scoring occurred at day 3 post-inoculation with pictures of the plants and leaves taken in parallel

In some instances, expression patterns of the pathogen induced genes (such as defense genes) were monitored by microarray experiments. cDNAs were generated by PCR and resuspended at a final concentration of ˜100 ng/μl in 3×SSC or 150 mM Na-phosphate (Eisen and Brown (1999) Meth. in Enzymol. 303:179-205). The cDNAs were spotted on microscope glass slides coated with polylysine. The prepared cDNAs were aliquoted into 384 well plates and spotted on the slides using an x-y-z gantry (OmniGrid) purchased from GeneMachines (Menlo Park, Calif.) outfitted with quill type pins purchased from Telechem International (Sunnyvale, Calif.). After spotting, the arrays were cured for a minimum of one week at room temperature, rehydrated and blocked following the protocol recommended by Eisen and Brown (1999).

Sample total RNA (10 μg) samples were labeled using fluorescent Cy3 and Cy5 dyes. Labeled samples were resuspended in 4×SSC/0.03% SDS/4 μg salmon sperm DNA/2 μg tRNA/50mM Na-pyrophosphate, heated for 95° C. for 2.5 minutes, spun down and placed on the array. The array was then covered with a glass coverslip and placed in a sealed chamber. The chamber was then kept in a water bath at 62° C. overnight. The arrays were washed as described in Eisen and Brown (1999) and scanned on a General Scanning ScanArray™ 3000 laser scanner. The resulting files are subsequently quantified using Imagene a software purchased from BioDiscovery (Los Angeles, Calif.).

Measurement of Photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis was measured using a LICOR LI-6400 (Li-Cor® Biosciences, Lincoln, Nebr.). The LI-6400 used infrared gas analyzers to measure carbon dioxide to generate a photosynthesis measurement. It was based upon the difference of the CO2 reference (the amount put into the chamber) and the CO2 sample (the amount that leaves the chamber). Since photosynthesis is the process of converting CO2 to carbohydrates, we expected to see a decrease in the amount of CO2 sample. From this difference, a photosynthesis rate could be generated. In some cases, respiration may occur and an increase in CO2 detected. To perform measurements, the LI-6400 as set-up and calibrated as per LI-6400 standard directions. Photosynthesis was measured in the youngest, most fully expanded leaf at 300 and 1000 ppm CO2 using a metal halide light source. This light source provided about 700 μE m−2 s−1.

Environmental Stress Tolerance.

Experiments were performed to identify those transformants or knockouts that exhibited an improved environmental stress tolerance. For such studies, the transformants were exposed to a variety of environmental stresses. Plants were exposed to chilling stress (6 hour exposure to 4°-8° C). , heat stress (6 hour exposure to 32°-37° C.), high salt stress (germination in 150 mM NaCl or a 6 hour exposure of plants to 200 mM NaCl ), drought stress (withholding of water for 168 hours), hyperosmotic stress (for example, germination in 9.4% sucrose or a 6 hour exposure to 3 M mannitol), desiccation, or nutrient limitation (nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium) (Nitrogen: all components of MS medium remained constant except N was reduced to 20 mg/L of NH4NO3, or Phosphate: All components of MS medium except KH2PO4, which was replaced by K2SO4, Potassium: All components of MS medium except removal of KNO3 and KH2PO4, which were replaced by NaH4PO4). For analysis of ability to tolerate desiccation (a plate-based water deprivation assay), seedlings were grown for 14 days on MS+Vitamins+1% sucrose at 22° C. Plates were opened in the sterile hood for 3 hr for hardening and then seedlings were removed from the media and let dry for two hours in the hood. After this time the plants were transferred back to plates and incubated at 22° C. for recovery. The plants were then evaluated after five days.

Soil-based drought assays. Seeds were sterilized by a 2 minute ethanol treatment followed by 20 minutes in 30% bleach/0.01% Tween and five washes in distilled water. Seeds were sown to MS agar in 0.1% agarose and stratified for three days at 4° C., before transfer to growth cabinets with a temperature of 22 ° C. After seven days of growth on selection plates, seedlings were transplanted to 3.5 inch diameter clay pots containing 80 g of a 50:50 mix of vermiculite:perlite topped with 80 g of ProMix. Typically, each pot contains 14 seedlings, and plants of the transgenic line being tested were in separate pots to the wild-type controls. Pots containing the transgenic line versus control pots were interspersed in the growth room, maintained under 24-hour light conditions (18-23° C., and 90-100 μE m−2 s−1) and watered for a period of 14 days. Water was then withheld and pots were placed on absorbent paper for a period of 8-10 days to apply a drought treatment. After this period, a visual qualitative “drought score” from 0-6 was assigned to record the extent of visible drought stress symptoms. A score of “6” corresponded to no visible symptoms whereas a score of “0” corresponded to extreme wilting and the leaves having a “crispy” texture. At the end of the drought period, pots were re-watered and scored after 5-6 days; the number of surviving plants in each pot was counted, and the proportion of the total plants in the pot that survived was calculated.

In a given experiment, we typically compared 6 or more pots of a transgenic line with 6 or more pots of the appropriate control. The mean drought score and mean proportion of plants surviving (survival rate) were calculated for both the transgenic line and the wild-type pots. In each case a p-value* was calculated, which indicated the significance of the difference between the two mean values. The results for each transgenic line across each planting for a particular project were then presented in a results table.

For the assays where control and experimental plants were in separate pots, survival was analyzed with a logistic regression to account for the fact that the random variable is a proportion between 0 and 1. The reported p-value was the significance of the experimental proportion was to the control, based upon regressing the logit-transformed data.

Drought score, being an ordered factor with no real numeric meaning, is analyzed with a non-parametric test between the experimental and control groups. The p-value was calculated with a Mann-Whitney rank-sum test.

Experiments were performed to identify those transformants or knockouts that exhibited a modified structure and development characteristics. For such studies, the transformants were observed by eye to identify novel structural or developmental characteristics associated with the ectopic expression of the polynucleotides or polypeptides of the invention.

Experiments were performed to identify those transformants or knockouts that exhibited modified sugar-sensing. For such studies, seeds from transformants were germinated on media containing 5% glucose or 9.4% sucrose which normally partially restrict hypocotyl elongation. Plants with altered sugar sensing may have either longer or shorter hypocotyls than normal plants when grown on this media. Additionally, other plant traits may be varied such as root mass.

Flowering time was measured by the number of rosette leaves present when a visible inflorescence of approximately 3 cm is apparent Rosette and total leaf number on the progeny stem are tightly correlated with the timing of flowering (Koornneef et al (1991) Mol. Gen. Genet 229:57-66. The vernalization response was measured. For vernalization treatments, seeds were sown to MS agar plates, sealed with micropore tape, and placed in a 4° C. cold room with low light levels for 6-8 weeks. The plates were then transferred to the growth rooms alongside plates containing freshly sown non-vernalized controls. Rosette leaves were counted when a visible inflorescence of approximately 3 cm was apparent.

Table 5 shows exemplary modified phenotypes observed for particular overexpressor or knockout plants. Modified phenotypes observed for particular overexpressor or knockout plants were provided in Appendix A in U.S. priority application Ser. No. 09/713,994, filed Nov. 16, 2000 (Appendix A is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety). For a particular overexpressor that shows a less beneficial characteristic, it may be more useful to select a plant with a decreased expression of the particular transcription factor. For a particular knockout that shows a less beneficial characteristic, it may be more useful to select a plant with an increased expression of the particular transcription factor.

Example VIII

Identification of Homologous Sequences

Homologous sequences from Arabidopsis and plant species other than Arabidopsis were identified using database sequence search tools, such as the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) (Altschul et al. (1990) J. Mol. Biol. 215:403-410; and Altschul et al. (1997) Nucl. Acid Res. 25: 3389-3402). The tblastx sequence analysis programs were employed using the BLOSUM-62 scoring matrix (Henikoff, S. and Henikoff, J. G. (1992) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89: 10915-10919).

Identified Arabidopsis homologous sequences are provided in Tables 4 and 5 and included in the Sequence Listing. The percent sequence identity among these sequences is as low as 46% sequence identity. Additionally, the entire NCBI GenBank database was filtered for sequences from all plants except Arabidopsis thaliana by selecting all entries in the NCBI GenBank database associated with NCBI taxonomic ID 33090 (Viridiplantae; all plants) and excluding entries associated with taxonomic ID 3701 (Arabidopsis thaliana). These sequences were compared to sequences representing genes of SEQ IDs Nos. 1-54 on 9/26/2000 using the Washington University TBLASTX algorithm (version 2.0a19MP). For each gene of SEQ IDs Nos. 1-54, individual comparisons were ordered by probability score (P-value), where the score reflects the probability that a particular alignment occurred by chance. For example, a score of 3.6e-40 is 3.6×10−40. In addition to P-values, comparisons were also scored by percentage identity. Percentage identity reflects the degree to which two segments of DNA or protein are identical over a particular length.

Example IX

Trait Summary for Transgenic Plants Overexpressing Sequences of the Invention

Appendix A, filed with priority U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/713,994 on Nov. 16, 2000, provides traits observed when plants were modified to alter the expression of additional polynucleotide and polypeptide sequences.

The entire contents of Appendix A filed with priority U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/713,994 are hereby incorporated by reference.

Table 5, below, provides a summary of the traits associated with prior filed Appendix A and the sequences of the invention. Each of the traits listed in Table 5 was observed to be modified in transgenic plants when the expression levels of each of these exemplary sequences were altered by overexpression of suppression. Table 5 lists the Gene IDentifier (GID) of each sequence, the SEQ ID NO: of the polynucleotide corresponding to the GID number, whether the sequence encoded by the respective GID was overexpressed or knocked out in plants, and the trait category and experimental observation made when the expression level of the respective GID was so altered.

TABLE 5
Sequences and traits observed when expression of the sequences was modified in plants
DNAPRTOverexpressor
SEQSEQ(OE) or
GIDID NO:ID NO:Knockout (KO)Trait CategoryExperimental Observation
G4111112OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Botrytis
G5115116OEPlant sizeSmall plant
G6119120
G7123124
G948128OERoot morphologyIncreased root mass
OESalt toleranceGreater tolerance to 150 mM NaCl
in a germination assay
OESugar sensing/More tolerant to glucose; greater
sucrose tolerancegermination and growth on 5%
glucose medium
OEHormoneLess sensitive to ABA; seedlings
sensitivitywere larger and greener in 0.5 μM
ABA in a germination assay
OECold toleranceMore tolerant to cold; seedlings had
less anthocyanin during growth in
8° C.
G14130131
G193135OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
OEHormon sensitivityRepressed by methyl jasmonate and
induced by ACC
G20138139OESeed sterolsIncrease in campesterol
G2219143OESalt toleranceGreater tolerance to 150 mM NaCl
in a germination assay
G23146147
G25150151OETrichomeFewer trichomes at seedling stage
OEFusariumExpression induced by Fusarium
infection
G2660155OESugar sensing/Decreased germination and growth
sucrose toleranceon 5% glucose medium
G27105159OEPlant sizeAbnormal development, small
OEAltered C/NIncreased sensitivity to media with
sensinglow nitrogen or lacking nitrogen
source
G285163OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Botrytis
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Sclerotinia
G29166167
G30170171OELeaf morphologyGlossy green leaves
OELight responseIncreased shade tolerance; lack of
shade avoidance phenotype
G35174175
G36178179
G3861183OESugar sensing/Reduced germination on 5%
sucrose toleranceglucose medium
G39186187
G4362191OESugar sensing/Decreased germination and growth
sucrose toleranceon 5% glucose medium
G44194195
G142198199OEFlowering timeEarly flowering
G148202203
G152206207
G157210211OEFlowering timeModest overexpression triggers
early flowering; greater
overexpression delays flowering
G161214215OEAltered C/NIncreased sensitivity to media with
sensinglow nitrogen or lacking nitrogen
source
G164218219
G177222223
G178226227
G180100231OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil
OEFlowering timeEarly flowering
G18756235OEMorphologyLong, thin cotyledons at seedling
stage; several flower abnormalities
including strap-like, sepaloid petals
G1881239KOSalt andMore tolerant to salt and/or osmotic
hyperosmotic stressstress: better germination in 150 mM
NaCl, 300 mM mannitol, 9.4%
sucrose or 5% glucose
KODisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to
Fusarium
G190242243
G19291247OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil content
OEFlowering timeLate flowering
G194250251OEPlant sizeSmall plant
OEWater deprivationMore tolerant to desiccation
tolerance
G197254255OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil
OESeed proteinDecreased seed protein
content
G198258259OESalt toleranceMore tolerant to salt; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay on 150 mM NaCl
G200262263KOAltered C/NIncreased sensitivity to media with
sensinglow nitrogen or lacking nitrogen
source
G201266267OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein content
content
OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil content
G202270271OESeed proteinDecreased seed protein content
content
OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil content
G203274275
G204279
G206282280OESeed sizeLarge seeds
G20763284OESugar sensing/Decreased germination on 5%
glucose toleranceglucose medium
KODisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to Botrytis
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
G208102288OEFlowering timeEarly flowering
G209291292
G210295296
G212301299OEAltered trichomePartially to fully glabrous on
initiation andadaxial surface of leaves
number
G21435303OELeaf fatty acidsIncreased leaf fatty acids
OELeaf prenyl lipidsIncreased leaf chlorophyll and
carotenoids
OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OESeed prenyl lipidsIncreased seed lutein
G215308306
G216311309
G217312313OESeed fatty acidsIncrease in 20:2 fatty acid in seeds
G219316317
G220320321
G222324325OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil content
OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein content
content
G22520329OERootIncreased root hairs
OETrichomeGlabrous, lack of trichomes
OEC/N sensingGreater growth and/or vigor on
media with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
OENutrient uptakeIncreased tolerance to nitrogen-
limited medium
G22621333OENutrient uptakeIncreased tolerance to nitrogen-
limited medium
OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein
content
OERootIncreased root hairs
OETrichomeGlabrous, lack of trichomes
OESodium chlorideMore tolerant to salt; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay on 150 mM NaCl
OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G228336337
G22936341OESeed proteinDecreased seed protein
content
OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil
OEOther biochemistryUp-regulation of genes involved in
secondary metabolism
G23174345OELeaf fatty acidsIncreased leaf unsaturated fatty
acids
OESeed proteinDecreased seed protein content
content
OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil content
G232348349
G23337353OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Botrytis
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
G23492357OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G2377361OELeaf biochemistryIncreased leaf insoluble sugars
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G239364365OEExpression/ABAExpression induced by 0.5 μM
treatmentABA
OEExpression fromExpression induced by drought
drought
OEExpression/heatExpression induced by 32° C.
treatment
OEExpression/hyperosmoticExpression induced by
stresshyperosmotic stress
G241368369OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil
KOSeed proteinAltered seed protein content
content
OESugar sensing/Decreased germination and growth
glucose toleranceon 5% glucose medium
G242372373OELeaf insolubleIncreased arabinose
sugars
G245376377
G249380381OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OETime to senescenceDelayed senescence
G251384385
G252388389
G25464393OESugar sensing/Decreased germination and growth
glucose toleranceon 5% glucose medium
G25622397OECold toleranceMore tolerant to cold; increased
seedling vigor and root growth at 8° C.
in germination and growth assays
G260400401
G2614404OEDisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to Botrytis
G262407406
G26365409OESugar sensing/Decreased root growth on 9.4%
glucose tolerancesucrose medium
OETissue-specificRoot specific expression
expression
G271412413
G273415416
G27475419OELeaf insolubleIncreased leaf arabinose
sugars
G279421422
G285424425
G291427428OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil content
G306430431OELeaf insolubleAltered leaf insoluble sugars:
sugarsincreased galactose, decreased
arabinose, mannose, rhamnose and
xylose
G30776435OESugar sensing/No germination on 5% glucose
glucose tolerancemedium
G30866439
G313442443
G315446447
G321450451
G322453454
G326457458OEAltered C/NIncreased sensitivity to media with
sensinglow nitrogen or lacking nitrogen
source
G328461462
G329464465
G330467468OECell wallXylose and rhamnose levels were
compositionelevated
G335473471
G343474475OEGlyphosateIncreased glyphosate resistance
resistance
G345477478
G34677482OELeaf fatty acidsSignificant increase in 18:2 leaf
fatty acid level
OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil
G355484485
G357488489OEMorphology andMost transformants died by the
developmentflowering stage; potential herbicide
target
G36193493OEFlowering timeLate flowering
G363496497
G364500501OEMorphology andMost transformants died by the
developmentflowering stage; potential herbicide
target
G368504505
G371508509OEDisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to Botrytis
G376511512
G37816515OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
G384518519OEAltered C/NIncreased sensitivity to media with
sensinglow nitrogen or lacking nitrogen
source
G385521522OEPlant sizeSmall plant
OEInflorescenceShort inflorescence stems
OELeaf morphologyDark green plant
G388525526
G389529530
G390533534OEFlowering timeEarly flowering
OEPlant morphologyAbnormal, disorganized phyllotaxy;
exhibited stem bifurcations in
which shoot meristems split to form
two or three separate shoots
G391537538OEAltered architectureAltered shoot development; T1
plants were dark green with short
bolts, small leaves and short
siliques
G393541542
G39433546OECold toleranceMore sensitive to 8° C.; plants
became chlorotic and leaves
senesced prematurely
G395549550
G396552553
G397556557
G398560561
G399564565
G400567568
G404570571
G4098574OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
G411576577
G412580581
G414584585
G4189588OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to
Pseudomonas
OESeed proteinDecreased seed protein content
content
G41923591OELow nutrientIncreased tolerance to potassium-
tolerancefree medium
G425593594OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to
Pseudomonas
G426596597
G42849601OELeaf insolubleIncreased leaf insoluble sugars
sugars
OELeaf morphologySevere lobing of leaves conferring a
parsley-like shape
G43155605OEDevelopmentalExtremely deleterious or lethal
defects
G432608609
G435612613OELeaf insolubleIncreased leaf insoluble sugars
sugars
G43852616KOAltered architectureReduced branching
KOStem lignificationReduced lignin
OELeaf morphologyIncreased leaf size; larger, flatter
leaves
OELeaf morphologyAltered leaf shape; broad flat leaves
G439619620
G440623624OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
G441627628
G442631632
G443635636
G444639640
G448643644
G449647648
G451651652
G452655656
G455659660
G456663664OESeed proteinDecreased seed protein
content
OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil
G459666667
G461670671
G462673674
G463677678
G46424682OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil
OEHeat toleranceMore tolerance to heat; seedlings
were larger and greener in
germination and growth assays at
32° C.
OELeaf morphologyAltered leaf shape
OESeed proteinDecreased seed protein content
content
G466685686
G467688689
G47057692OEFertilityShort stamen filaments; pollen
produced, but not deposited on the
stigma
G474695696
G475699700OEFlowering timeEarly flowering
G481703704OEHyperosmoticMore tolerant to mannitol; greater
stressgermination and growth on 300 mM
mannitol medium
OEHormoneLess sensitive to ABA; seedlings
sensitivitywere larger and greener in 0.5 μM
ABA in a germination assay
OESugarMore tolerant to sucrose; better
sensing/sucrosegermination on 9.4% sucrose
tolerancemedium
OEHeat toleranceMore tolerance to heat; seedlings
were larger and greener in
germination and growth assays at
32° C.
OEWater deprivationMore tolerant to desiccation and
tolerancedrought
G48225708OESalt toleranceMore tolerant to salt; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay on 150 mM NaCl
OEHyperosmoticMore tolerant to mannitol; greater
stressgermination and growth on 300 mM
mannitol medium
OEHeat toleranceMore tolerance to heat; seedlings
were larger and greener in
germination and growth assays at
32° C.
OEWater deprivationIncreased survival and recovery
tolerancefrom drought
G483711712OEWater deprivationBetter recovery from drought
tolerance
G484714715KOAltered seedAltered glucosinolate profile
glucosinolates
OEWater deprivationMore tolerant to desiccation
tolerance
G485718719OEFlowering timeEarly flowering
KOFlowering timeLate flowering
OEWater deprivationIncreased survival and recovery
tolerancefrom drought
OESalt toleranceMore tolerant to salt; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay on 150 mM NaCl
OECold toleranceGreater tolerance to cold; in 8° C. in
germination and growth assays;
seedlings were larger and greener
during germination and larger
during growth
OEHormoneLess sensitive to ABA; seedlings
sensitivitywere larger and greener in 0.5 μM
ABA in a germination assay
OESugarMore tolerant to sucrose; better
sensing/sucrosegermination on 9.4% sucrose
tolerancemedium
G48694723OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G48934727OEHyperosmoticMore tolerant to mannitol; greater
stressgermination and growth on 300 mM
mannitol medium
OECold toleranceGreater tolerance to cold; in 8° C. in
germination and growth assays;
seedlings were larger, greened and
had less anthocyanin during
germination and growth
OEWater deprivationMore tolerant to desiccation and
tolerancedrought
G501730731
G50226734KOHyperosmoticIncreased sensitivity to 5% glucose
stressor 150 mM NaCl
G503737738
G505743741OEAltered C/NGreater sensitivity to media with
sensinglow nitrogen or lacking nitrogen
source
G508744745
G509748749KOSeed oil contentIncreased seed oil content
KOSeed proteinDecreased seed protein content
content
OESeed glucosinolatesIncreased M39489 and M39497
G511751752
G513755756
G514759760
G516764762OEHyperosmoticMore tolerant to mannitol; greater
stressgermination and growth on 300 mM
mannitol medium
OECold toleranceIncreased tolerance to cold; in an 8° C.
growth assay; seedlings had less
anthocyanin
OESeed morphologySeeds of one line larger
OEPlant sizeSeedlings of several lines larger
G523765766
G524769770
G52511774OEDisease resistanceIncreased tolerance to
Pseudomonas
OELeaf insolubleIncreased leaf insoluble sugars
sugars
G52627778OETolerance toIncreased sensitivity to 300 mM
hyperosmotic stressmannitol or 10% polyethylene
glycol
G528781782
G529785786
G531788789
G532792793
G533796797
G535800801
G53667805OESugar sensing/Decreased germination and growth
glucose toleranceon 5% glucose medium
G537808809
G54512813OESalt toleranceMore susceptible ot 150 mM NaCl
in a germination assay
OELow nutrientIncreased tolerance to reduced
tolerancephosphate conditions; more root
growth on phosphate-free media
OEDisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to Erysiphe
OEDisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to
Pseudomonas
OEDisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to
Fusarium
OEAltered C/NGreater sensitivity to media with
sensinglow nitrogen or lacking nitrogen
source
G553815816
G554818819
G555822823
G557826827
G55818831OEDefense geneIncreased expression of defense
expressiongenes encoding: GST,
phospholipase D, PGP224 (also
strongly induced by Erysiphe), PR1,
berberine bridge enzyme (the bridge
enzyme of antimicrobial
benzophenanthridine alkaloid
biosynthesis which is methyl
jasmonate-inducible),
polygalacturonase, WAK 1 PGP224
(also strongly induced by Erysiphe),
pathogen-inducible protein
CXc750, tryptophan synthase,
tyrosine transaminase and an
antifungal proteinA
G559107835OEAltered architectureLoss of apical dominance
OEFertilityReduced fertility
OETime to senescenceLate senescing
G560838839
G56128843OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil content
OENutrient uptakeIncreased tolerance to potassium-
free medium
G56297847OEFlowering timeLate flowering
G563850851
G564854855
G566858859
G56917863OEDefense geneSeveral genes repressed by G569
expressionoverexpression, including PR-1,
MtN21 (upregulated by Erysiphe),
PAR-1b (inducible by sucrose and
salicylic acid), drought-induced
protein Dr4, WAK 1 (upregulated
by Erysiphe), antifungal protein, a
glycine rich protein,
polygalacturonase, putative β-
expansin, flavonol synthase and
pathogen-inducible protein
CXc750. 12-oxo-phytodienoate
10,11-reductase (octadecanoid
biosynthesis), lipoxygenase, GST
and allene oxide synthase were
consistently induced
G570866867
G57153871KOTime to senescenceDelayed senescence
KOFlowering timeLate flowering
G572873874OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
G573877878
G575881882
G579885886
G582889890
G58444894OESeed morphologyLarge seeds
G586897898
G589900901
G590904905KOSeed oil contentIncreased seed oil content
OEFlowering timeEarly flowering
OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G59110909OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Botrytis
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Sclerotinia
OEFlowering timeLate flowering
G592101913OEFlowering timeEarly flowering
G593916917
G595920921
G59878925OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil
OELeaf insolubleAltered insoluble sugars; increased
sugarsgalactose levels
G599928929OELeaf morphologyExtreme rolling and curling of
rosette leaves, giving the rosettes a
pinwheel-like appearance
G603932933
G60579937OELeaf fatty acidsAltered leaf fatty acid composition;
decreased 18:3 and increased 16:0
G607940941
G610944945
G61558949OEAltered architectureSome plants were bushy and/or had
fused cotyledons
OEFertilityLittle or no pollen production, poor
filament elongation
G6162953OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
G629956957OELeaf morphologyAltered leaf morphology
OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil content
OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein content
content
G630959960OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein content
content
OETissue-specificEmbryo specific expression
expression
G632962963
G633965966
G634969970OETrichomeIncreased trichome density and size
morphology and
number
OEAltered lightIncreased shade tolerance; lack of
response and/orshade avoidance phenotype
shade tolerance
OEWater deprivationMore tolerant to desiccation and
tolerancedrought
G640972973
G641975976
G642979980
G649983984
G653987988OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G654991992
G656994995
G658998999
G65910021003
G66010061007
G66110101011
G663381015OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil
OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein
content
OEAnthocyaninsIncreased anthocyanins in leaf, root,
seed
G664291019OECold toleranceIncreased tolerance to cold; better
germination at 8° C.
G66510221023
G66610261027
G668451031OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein content
content
OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil content
OESeed morphologyReduced seed color
G6691035OEMorphologySmall, rounded leaf morphology
and spindly bolts with low fertility
G67010361037OEPlant sizeSmall plant
G67110401041OEStemAltered inflorescence stem structure
OEFlowerReduced petal abscission
OELeafAltered leaf shape; true leaves curl
down, secondary bolts replaced by
odd leaf-like structures
OESizeSmall plant
OEFertilityReduced fertility/underdevelopment
of flowers
G67210441045
G67310481049
G67510511052
G67610551056OETrichomeReduced trichome number, ectopic
trichome formation
G67710591060
G67910631064
G680681067OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OESugar sensing/Reduced germination on 5%
glucose toleranceglucose medium
G682301071OEHeat toleranceMore tolerance to heat; seedlings
were larger and greener in
germination and growth assays at
32° C.
OESalt toleranceMore tolerant to salt; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay on 150 mM NaCl
OEHyperosmoticMore tolerant to mannose; more
stresstolerant to sucrose; better
germination on a 9.4% sucrose
medium
OEHormoneLess sensitive to ABA; seedlings
sensitivitywere larger and greener in 0.5 μM
ABA in a germination assay
OELow nutrientMore tolerant to nitrogen-limiting
toleranceconditions
OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
OEWater deprivationMore tolerant to desiccation and
tolerancedrought
OETrichome numberGlabrous, lack of trichomes
OERoot morphologyIncreased root hair number
G69910741075
G71310771078
G71410801081OELeaf morphologySome lines had long, narrow, curled
leaves
G71810841085OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein
content
OELeaf fatty acidsAltered leaf fatty acid composition;
decreased 16:0 and 16:3, increased
16:1 and 18:3
OESeed prenyl lipidsIncreased seed lutein
OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil
OESeed fatty acidsSeed fatty acids; decrease in 18:1
fatty acids in seeds
G72110881089
G72310921093
G72510961097
G72611001101
G72711031104
G72911071108
G73111111112
G732471116OESeed proteinOne OE line had increased, another
contentdecreased seed protein content
OESeed oil contentOne OE line had increased, another
decreased seed oil content
OEAltered architectureReduced apical dominance
OEFlower morphologyAbnormal flowers
G73511191120
G736981123OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OELeaf morphologySmall, dark green rounded leaves
with long petioles
G7401061126OEAltered growth rateSlow growth
G74311291130
G748541134OEStemMore vascular bundles in stem
OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OESeed prenyl lipidsIncreased lutein content
G74911371138
G75111411142
G75211441145OEFlowering timeLate flowering
G75911471148
G76311501151
G76411531154
G77311561157OEAltered C/NIncreased sensitivity media with
sensinglow nitrogen or lacking nitrogen
source
G776391161OESeed oilAltered seed fatty acid composition;
compositiondecreased 20:1 and 22:1 fatty acids
G777801165OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil
OELeaf insolubleIncreased leaf rhamnose
sugars
G778401169OESeed oilIncreased seed 18:1 fatty acid
composition
G77911721173OEFertilityReduced fertility
OEFlowerHomeotic transformations;
conversion of sepals to carpels,
most severely affected showed full
conversion of sepals to carpels with
ovules, stigmatic tissue on petals
and stamens, and in some cases
showed organ fusions
G78011761177KOSeed fatty acidsSignificant increases in 16:0, 18:0,
and 20:0 and decreases in 18:2,
20:1, and 20:2
OESeed fatty acidsSignificant increase in 18:2 and a
significant decrease in 18:3
G78211801181OESugar sensing/More tolerant to sucrose; better
sucrose tolerancegermination on 9.4% sucrose
medium
G78311841185OESugar sensing/More tolerant to sucrose; better
sucrose tolerancegermination on 9.4% sucrose
medium
G78411871188
G78611911192
G78711941195
G78811981199
G79112021203OESeed oilDecreased decrease in 18:1 seed
compositionfatty acid
OELeaf insolubleAltered leaf cell wall
sugarspolysaccharide composition
OELeaf fatty acidDecreased 18:2 leaf fatty acid
composition
G79212061207
G79312101211OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Sclerotinia
G79512141215
G79812181219
G80112211222OESalt toleranceMore tolerant to salt; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay on 150 mM NaCl
G80212251226
G80412281229
G81112321233
G83012351236
G8321238
G84912391240KOSeed proteinAltered seed protein content
content
KOSeed oil contentIncreased seed oil content
KOSeed sterolsDecease in β-sitosterol
G86012421243
G86412461247OEPlant sizeSmall plant
OECold toleranceIncreased adult stage sensitivity to
8° C.
OEHeat toleranceMore tolerance to heat; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay at 32° C.
G865131251OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
OEDisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to Botrytis
OEFlowering timeEarly flowering
OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein
content
OEAlteredNumerous secondary inflorescence
morphologymeristems-bushy appearance
G86612531254OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G867691258OESugar sensing/More tolerant to sucrose; better
sucrose toleranceseedling vigor on 9.4% sucrose
medium
OESalt toleranceMore tolerant to salt; better seedling
vigor in a germination assay on 150 mM
NaCl
OEWater deprivationIncreased survival and recovery
tolerancefrom drought
OEHormoneLess sensitive to ABA; seedlings
sensitivitywere larger and greener in 0.5 μM
ABA in a germination assay
OECold toleranceIncreased tolerance to cold; at 8° C.
in germination and growth assays,
some seedlings were larger and
greener and had less anthocyanin
during germination and growth
G86961262OELeaf insolubleIncrease in fucose
sugars
OESeed oilIncreased 18:1 seed fatty acids
composition
OELeaf fatty acids16:0 levels decreased and 16:3
levels increased
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
OEMorphology: otherSmall and spindly plant
OEFlower morphologyAbnormal anther development
G87212651266KODevelopmentalEmbryo lethal
defects
OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G87712681269KOEmbryo lethalEmbryo lethal phenotype: potential
herbicide target
G881141273OEDisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to Botrytis
OEDisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to Erysiphe
G883411277OESeed prenyl lipidsDecreased seed lutein
G88612801281
G89112841285
G89615110KODisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to
Fusarium
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Botrytis
G89712921293
G89912961297
G90212991300
G90813031304
G90913071308
G911311311OELow nutrientIncreased growth on potassium-free
tolerancemedium
OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein content
content
OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil content
G912701314OEFreezing toleranceIncreased freezing tolerance
OEAlteredDark green color
morphology
OEWater deprivationIncreased survival and recovery
tolerancefrom drought
OESugar sensing/Reduced cotyledon expansion in
glucose tolerance5% glucose
OEPlant sizeSmall plant
OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G91313171318OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OEFreezing toleranceIncreased freezing tolerance
OEWater deprivationIncreased survival and recovery
tolerancefrom drought
OECold toleranceIncreased tolerance to cold; more
tolerant to 8° C. in a growth assay;
some seedlings had less
anthocyanin
G91413211322
G91513251326
G92113291330OEHyperosmoticIncreased sensitivity to 10%
stress tolerancepolyethylene glycol or 150 mM salt
OELeafSerrated leaves
G92713331334
G92813371338OESugarMore tolerant to sucrose; better
sensing/sucrosegermination on 9.4% sucrose
tolerancemedium
OEWater deprivationMore tolerant to desiccation
tolerance
OECold toleranceMore tolerant to cold; in an 8° C.
germination assay, seedlings were
larger and had less anthocyanin
G92913411342
G93213451346OELeaf morphologyAltered development, dark green
color
OEPlant sizeReduced size
OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G938421350OESeed oilOverexpressors had increased 16:0,
composition18:0, 20:0, and 18:3 fatty acids,
decreased 18:2, 20:1, 22:1 fatty
acids
G93913531354
G94113571358
G94213631361
G96013641365
G964321369OEHeat toleranceMore tolerance to heat; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay at 32° C.
KOAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G96513711372OESeed oilIncrease in 18:1 fatty acid
composition
G975841376OELeaf fatty acidsIncreased wax in leaves
OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
OEWater deprivationIncreased survival and recovery
tolerancefrom drought
G97613791380
G97713831384OEPlant sizeSmall plant
OEMorphology: colorDark green
OELeaf morphologyAltered leaf shape; generally
wrinkled or curled
OEFertilityReduced fertility; underdeveloped
flowers, abnormal inflorescences
G98613871388
G98713911392KOLeaf fatty acidsReduction in 16:3 fatty acid
Presence of two xanthophylls,
KOLeaf prenyl lipidstocopherol not normally found in
leaves; reduced chlorophyll a and b
G994951396OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OEPlant sizeSmall plants
G996711400OESugar sensing/Reduced germination on 5%
glucose toleranceglucose medium
G99714031404
G99814071408
G100014131411
G100414141415
G100514181419
G100614221423OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Sclerotinia
G100814261427OEPlant morphologyOverexpressors were small and
bushy
G101714301431
G102014341435OEPlant sizeVery small T1 plants
G102114381439
G102514421443
G103014451446
G103414481449
G1038511452OELeaf morphologyRounded leaves
OELeaf insolubleDecreased insoluble sugars
sugars
G103914541455
G104014581459OESeed morphologySmaller and more rounded seeds
G104514621463
G104814661467OEErysipheIncreased tolerance to Erysiphe
orontii
OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein content
content
OEAltered lightIncreased shade tolerance; lack of
response and/orshade avoidance phenotype
shade tolerance
G105214691470OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OESeed prenyl lipidsDecrease in lutein and increase in
xanthophyll 1
G105514731474
G105714761477
G105814801481
G10601484
G106114871488
G106514911492
G106714941495OELeaf morphologyUpcurled rosette leaves
OEPlant sizeSmall plant
OEFertilityReduced fertility
OEWater deprivationIncreased survival and recovery
tolerancefrom drought
OEHormoneLess sensitive to ABA; seedlings
sensitivitywere larger and greener in 0.5 μM
ABA in a germination assay
G1068721499OESugarReduced cotyledon expansion in
sensing/glucose5% glucose
tolerance
G107115021503
G107215061507
G1073591511OEPlant sizeIncreased plant size
OESeed morphologyLarger seeds; increased seed yield
OELeafSerrated leaves
OEFlowering timeFlowering slightly delayed
OESalt toleranceMore tolerant to salt; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay on 150 mM NaCl
OESugarMore tolerant to sucrose; better
sensing/sucrosegermination on 9.4% sucrose
tolerancemedium
OEHyperosmoticMore tolerant to mannitol; greater
stressgermination and growth on 300 mM
mannitol medium
OEWater deprivationMore tolerant to desiccation and
tolerancedrought
G107515141515OEPlant sizeSmall plant
OEFlower morphologyReduced or absent petals, sepals
and stamens
OEFertilityReduced fertility
OELeaf morphologyPointed leaves in some seedlings;
twisted or curled leaves and
serrations in rosette stage
G107815181519
G108215211522
G108315251526
G109015291530OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G109315321533
G109515361537
G109915401541
G110015441545OEAltered lightIncreased shade tolerance; lack of
response and/orshade avoidance phenotype
shade tolerance
G110715481549
G110915521553
G113015561557
G113115601561
G1133811565OELeaf prenyl lipidsDecreased leaf lutein
G113415671568OESilique morphologySiliques with altered shape
OEHormoneAltered response to ethylene: longer
sensitivityhypocotyls and lack of apical hook
OEHormoneLess sensitive to ABA; seedlings
sensitivitywere larger and greener in 0.5 μM
ABA in a germination assay
OERoot morphologySeveral seedlings had more root
growth
G113715711572
G114115751576
G114915781579
G118115821583OEPlant sizeSmall T1 plants
G119615851586
G119715881589
G120215921593OELeaf fatty acidsSignificant increase (>2 standard
deviation) in 18:0 and 18:1 fatty
acids; decrease in 18:3 saturated
fatty acids in leaves
G120715951596
G120816001598
G121816011602
G122816061604OEPlant sizeReduced size
G123216071608
G123316101611
G124016131614
G124116161617
G124916191620
G125816231624
G126116271628
G1266821632OELeaf fatty acidsDecreased 16:0, 18:2, increased
18:3
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Erysiphe
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Botrytis
OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Sclerotinia
OEPlant sizeSmall plant
OEFertilityReduced fertility
OELeaf insolubleAlterations in xylose, and mannose,
sugarsand galactose concentrations;
decreased rhamnose, some lines had
more arabinose
OEAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
OESalt toleranceMore tolerant to salt; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay on 150 mM NaCl
OEHyperosmoticMore tolerant to mannitol; greater
stressgermination and growth on 300 mM
mannitol medium
OEHormoneLess sensitive to ABA; seedlings
sensitivitywere larger and greener in 0.5 μM
ABA in a germination assay
OECold toleranceIncreased tolerance to cold; in an 8° C.
germination assay, seedlings
were larger, greener and had less
anthocyanin
G1269501636OELeaf morphologyLong petioles, upturned leaves
G127516391640OEPlant sizeSmall plant
OEAltered architectureReduced apical dominance
OEHeat toleranceMore tolerance to heat; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay at 32° C.
OECold toleranceMore tolerant to cold; in 8° C.
germination and growth assays;
some seedlings were larger and had
less anthocyanin
OEHormoneLess sensitive to ABA; seedlings
sensitivitywere larger and greener in 0.5 μM
ABA in a germination assay
G12931643
G130016441645OESeed fatty acidsOne line had a reduction in 16:0,
18:0 and 20:0 seed fatty acids and
an increase in the unsaturated 18:1
and 18:2 fatty acids; another line
had significant increases in 16:0,
18:0 and 20:0 fatty acids and a
reduction in 20:1
G130916471648OEPlant sizeSmall plant
OELeaf insolubleIncreased mannose
sugars
G131116511652OEFertilityReduced fertility
OEPlant sizeSmall plant
G131516551656OELeaf chemistryIncreased leaf β-carotene
G131916591660
G132116631664
G132316671668OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil
OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein
content
OEPlant sizeSmall T1 plants
OEMorphology: colorDark green
G1324831672OELeaf prenyl lipidsDecreased leaf lutein, increased leaf
xanthophyll
G132616751676OEFlower morphologyPetals and sepals were smaller
OEPlant sizeSmall plant
OEFertilityReduced fertility
G132716791680OELeaf morphologyDark green leaves
G1328431684OESeed prenyl lipidsDecreased seed lutein
G132916871688
G133316911692
G13341041696OEPlant sizeSome lines were small
OEPlant sizeLarger seedlings
OELeaf morphologyDark green leaves
G1335961700OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OEDev and morphSlow growth
G1337731704OESugar sensingDecreased germination on 9.4%
sucrose medium
OELeaf fatty acidsAltered leaf fatty acid composition
G133817061707
G134017101711
G134917141715
G135017181719
G135117211722
G135217251726
G135517281729OESeed oil contentReduced seed oil
G136317321733OEDisease resistanceIncreased resistance to Fusarium
OEWater deprivationIncreased tolerance to desiccation
G136617361737
G136717401741
G138317441745
G138517481749
G138917521753
G139017561757
G139417601761
G139517641765
G139617681769
G139817721773
G140317761777KOSeed fatty acidsIncreased 16:0 and 18:0 and
decreased 20:2 seed fatty acids
G141117801781OEAltered architectureLoss of apical dominance
G141617841785
G141917881789OEAltered seedIncreased seed protein
protein
G142717921793
G1435991796OEFlowering timeLate flowering
OEPlant sizeIncreased plant size
OELeaf morphologyDark green leaves
G143717991800
G143818021803
G143918051806
G144318081809
G144918111812OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein content
content
OEFlower morphologyLarger flowers with more open
petals; extra petals
G145618151816
G146618191820
G148918231824
G149618261827OEAltered seed oilIncreased seed oil content
G149918301831OEArchitectureBolts terminating without an
inflorescence; in some lines,
flowers replaced with filamentous
structures or carpelloid structures;
less severely affected lines
produced flowers where sepals were
converted to carpelloid tissue
OEFlower morphologyPetals and stamens were absent or
reduced in size and number
OEMorphology: otherDark green leaves
G150918341835
G151418371838OEDisease resistanceIncreased susceptibility to Botrytis
G151818401841
G151918431844KOEmbryo lethalEmbryo lethal phenotype: potential
herbicide target
G152618481846KOAltered seed oilIncreased seed oil content
G152818491850
G153718521853
G153818561857
G154018601861OECell differentiationReduced cell differentiation in
meristem
G154118641865
G154218681869
G154318721873OEAltered architectureCompact plant
OEMorphology: colorDark green color
OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil
OEAltered leaf prenylIncrease in chlorophyll a and b
lipids
G155018761877
G158618801881OELeaf morphologyNarrow leaves
G163418841885OESeed proteinDecreased seed protein content
content
OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil
G163518881889OEMorphologyPrimary transformant had reduced
apical dominance, reduced bolt
elongation, narrow rosette leaves,
and poor fertility
G163618921893
G163818961897
G164019001901OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil
G164319061904
G164619071908OESeed oil contentIncreased seed oil
OECold toleranceMore tolerant to cold; in an 8° C.
germination assay, some seedlings
were larger and had less
anthocyanin
OEWater deprivationMore tolerant to desiccation
G165019111912
G165319151916
G165519191920
G166419231924
G166719271928OESeed proteinIncreased seed protein content
content
OESeed oil contentDecreased seed oil
OELeaf prenyl lipidsIncreased β-carotene
G166919311932
G169919341935
G170519381939
G174219421943
G17731947KOAltered C/NGreater growth and/or vigor on
sensingmedia with low nitrogen or lacking
nitrogen source
G178519481949
G17871953
G18071955OEOxidative stressMore sensitive to acifluorfen
G183619561957OESalt toleranceMore tolerant to salt; seedlings
were larger and greener in a
germination assay on 150 mM NaCl
OESugarMore tolerant to sucrose; better
sensing/sucrosegermination on 9.4% sucrose
tolerancemedium
OEHormoneLess sensitive to ABA; seedlings
sensitivitywere larger and greener in 0.5 μM
ABA in a germination assay
OECold toleranceMore tolerant to cold; in an 8° C.
germination assay; seedlings were
larger, greener and had less
anthocyanin
OEWater deprivationIncreased survival and recovery
tolerancefrom drought
OEFlowering timeSome lines slightly early flowering
G189419601961
G190019631964OEFlowering timeLate flowering
G190119661967
G190319691970OESeed proteinDecreased seed protein content
content
G191119721973
G191719761977KOSeed glucosinolateSignificant increase in peak
M39489
G20191979KOLeaf prenyl lipidsSignificant (>2 standard deviation)
increase in the leaf prenyl lipids,
xanthophylls
G248419801981

Example X

Plants Overexpressing G1435 (SEQ ID NOs: 99 and 1796; a GARP Family Transcription Factor)

G1435 (SEQ ID NO: 99 and polypeptide SEQ ID NO: 1796) was isolated as a cDNA clone. G1435 was later identified in the sequence of BAC F2O15, GenBank accession number AB025604, released by the Arabidopsis Genome Initiative.

Experimental observations. The complete sequence of G1435 was determined. The function of this gene was analyzed using transgenic plants in which G1435 was expressed under the control of the 35S promoter. Plants overexpressing G1435 were larger than wild-type controls, and had dark green leaves. Primary transformants were late flowering. G1435 was expressed throughout the plant, though at lower levels in roots and germinating seeds. It is not significantly induced or repressed by any condition tested.

A second experiment in which 35S::G1435 plants were grown confirmed the late flowering phenotype of three T2 lines. G1435 could thus be used to influence flowering time in crop plants. In species such as sugarbeet where the vegetative parts of the plants constitute the crop and the reproductive tissues are discarded, it would be advantageous to delay or prevent flowering. Extending vegetative development could bring about large increases in yields.

Another potential indicator of increased yield conferred by G1435 overexpression was the increased plant size and green color (suggesting increased photosynthetic capacity). It was thus expected that G1435 may be useful for increasing yield and/or crop quality in crops, including where the vegetative portion of the plant is harvested. A confirmation of an increase in yield in a commercially important plant species was provided when a field trial of corn plants overexpressing G1435 showed two lines with significantly increased broad acre yield relative to negative segregant controls (Table 6). These lines, 642 and 653, showed increased total kernel number and total kernel weight. Line 653 showed the higher percentage increase (a statistically significant increase) in photosynthesis compared to the negative segregant controls.

TABLE 6
Results in field trials comparing means of yield
of transgenics to negative segregant controls
Mean yield,Mean yield,Percent
LineoverexpressorcontrolDifferencedifferencep value
641213.418226.181−12.763−5.6430.002
665223.890226.181−2.291−1.0130.586
649224.233226.181−1.948−0.8620.644
662228.127226.1811.9460.8600.644
660221.525226.181−4.656−2.0590.269
646215.764226.181−10.417−4.6060.014
656227.422226.1811.2410.5480.769
664226.313226.1810.1320.0580.975
 642*232.418226.1816.2372.7570.138
 653*234.244226.1818.0633.5650.056
654229.372226.1813.1911.4100.448
651230.383226.1814.2021.8580.319
*Increased yield in these lines observed (p < 0.15)

Example XI

Utilities of G1435 (SEQ ID NOs: 99 and 1796) and its Phylogenetically-Related Sequences.

Based on the data obtained in the above-disclosed Example, the darker green color, increased photosynthesis, increased plant size and increased yield of G1435 overexpressors all indicate that G1435-related sequence overexpression can directly result in improved yield of crop plants, ornamental plants, and woody plants used in the food, ornamental, paper, pulp, lumber or other industries.

The invention thus includes G1435-overexpressing plants, and methods for producing G1435-overexpressing plants, or delaying flowering, increasing size, increasing photosynthesis, or increasing yield in a plant where the plant overexpresses G1435 or a phylogenetically and functionally-related sequence.

Example XII

Transformation of Dicots to Produce Increased Photosynthesis, Yield or Stress Tolerance

Crop species that overexpress polypeptides of the invention may produce plants with increased photosynthetic capacity and/or yield, and/or increased tolerance to water deprivation, cold and/or nutrient tolerance in both stressed and non-stressed conditions. Thus, polynucleotide sequences listed in the Sequence Listing recombined into, for example, one of the expression vectors of the invention, or another suitable expression vector, may be transformed into a plant for the purpose of modifying plant traits for the purpose of improving yield and/or quality. The expression vector may contain a constitutive, tissue-specific or inducible promoter operably linked to the polynucleotide. The cloning vector may be introduced into a variety of plants by means well known in the art such as, for example, direct DNA transfer or Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. It is now routine to produce transgenic plants using most dicot plants (see Weissbach and Weissbach (1989) Methods for Plant Molecular Biology, Academic Press; Gelvin et al. (1990) Plant Molecular Biology Manual, Kluwer Academic Publishers; Herrera-Estrella et al. (1983) Nature 303: 209; Bevan (1984) Nucleic Acids Res. 12: 8711-8721; and Klee (1985) Bio/Technology 3: 637-642). Methods for analysis of traits are routine in the art and examples are disclosed above.

Numerous protocols for the transformation of tomato and soy plants have been previously described, and are well known in the art. Gruber et al. (1993), in Glick and Thompson (1993) Methods in Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. eds., CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, describe several expression vectors and culture methods that may be used for cell or tissue transformation and subsequent regeneration. For soybean transformation, methods are described by Miki et al. (1993) in Methods in Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, p. 67-88, Glick and Thompson, eds., CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,563,055, (Townsend and Thomas), issued Oct. 8, 1996.

There are a substantial number of alternatives to Agrobacterium-mediated transformation protocols, other methods for the purpose of transferring exogenous genes into soybeans or tomatoes. One such method is microprojectile-mediated transformation, in which DNA on the surface of microprojectile particles is driven into plant tissues with a biolistic device (see, for example, Sanford et al. (1987) Part. Sci. Technol. 5:27-37; Sanford (1993) Methods Enzymol. 217: 483-509; Christou et al. (1992) Plant. J. 2: 275-281; Klein et al. (1987) Nature 327: 70-73; U.S. Pat. No. 5,015,580 (Christou et al), issued May 14, 1991; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,322,783 (Tomes et al.), issued Jun. 21, 1994).

Alternatively, sonication methods (see, for example, Zhang et al. (1991) Bio/Technology 9: 996-997); direct uptake of DNA into protoplasts using CaCl2 precipitation, polyvinyl alcohol or poly-L-ornithine (see, for example, Hain et al. (1985) Mol. Gen. Genet. 199: 161-168; Draper et al. (1982) Plant Cell Physiol. 23: 451-458); liposome or spheroplast fusion (see, for example, Deshayes et al. (1985) EMBO J., 4: 2731-2737; Christou et al. (1987) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 84: 3962-3966); and electroporation of protoplasts and whole cells and tissues (see, for example, Donn et al.(1990) in Abstracts of VIIth International Congress on Plant Cell and Tissue Culture IAPTC, A2-38: 53; D′Halluin et al. (1992) Plant Cell 4: 1495-1505; and Spencer et al. (1994) Plant Mol. Biol. 24: 51-61) have been used to introduce foreign DNA and expression vectors into plants.

After a plant or plant cell is transformed (and the latter regenerated into a plant), the transformed plant may be crossed with itself or a plant from the same line, a non-transformed or wild-type plant, or another transformed plant from a different transgenic line of plants. Crossing provides the advantages of producing new and often stable transgenic varieties. Genes and the traits they confer that have been introduced into a tomato or soybean line may be moved into distinct line of plants using traditional backcrossing techniques well known in the art. Transformation of tomato plants may be conducted using the protocols of Koornneef et al (1986) In Tomato Biotechnology: Alan R. Liss, Inc., 169-178, and in U.S. Pat. No. 6,613,962, the latter method described in brief here. Eight day old cotyledon explants are precultured for 24 hours in Petri dishes containing a feeder layer of Petunia hybrida suspension cells plated on MS medium with 2% (w/v) sucrose and 0.8% agar supplemented with 10μM α-naphthalene acetic acid and 4.4 μM 6-benzylaminopurine. The explants are then infected with a diluted overnight culture of Agrobacterium tumefaciens containing an expression vector comprising a polynucleotide of the invention for 5-10 minutes, blotted dry on sterile filter paper and cocultured for 48 hours on the original feeder layer plates. Culture conditions are as described above. Overnight cultures of Agrobacterium tumefaciens are diluted in liquid MS medium with 2% (w/v/) sucrose, pH 5.7) to an OD600 of 0.8.

Following cocultivation, the cotyledon explants are transferred to Petri dishes with selective medium comprising MS medium with 4.56 μM zeatin, 67.3 μM vancomycin, 418.9 μM cefotaxime and 171.6 μM kanamycin sulfate, and cultured under the culture conditions described above. The explants are subcultured every three weeks onto fresh medium. Emerging shoots are dissected from the underlying callus and transferred to glass jars with selective medium without zeatin to form roots. The formation of roots in a kanamycin sulfate-containing medium is a positive indication of a successful transformation.

Transformation of soybean plants may be conducted using the methods found in, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,563,055 (Townsend et al., issued Oct. 8, 1996), described in brief here. In this method soybean seed is surface sterilized by exposure to chlorine gas evolved in a glass bell jar. Seeds are germinated by plating on 1/10 strength agar solidified medium without plant growth regulators and culturing at 28° C. with a 16 hour day length. After three or four days, seed may be prepared for cocultivation. The seedcoat is removed and the elongating radicle removed 3-4 mm below the cotyledons.

Overnight cultures of Agrobacterium tumefaciens harboring the expression vector comprising a polynucleotide of the invention are grown to log phase, pooled, and concentrated by centrifugation. Inoculations are conducted in batches such that each plate of seed was treated with a newly resuspended pellet of Agrobacterium. The pellets are resuspended in 20 ml inoculation medium. The inoculum is poured into a Petri dish containing prepared seed and the cotyledonary nodes are macerated with a surgical blade. After 30 minutes the explants are transferred to plates of the same medium that has been solidified. Explants are embedded with the adaxial side up and level with the surface of the medium and cultured at 22° C. for three days under white fluorescent light. These plants may then be regenerated according to methods well established in the art, such as by moving the explants after three days to a liquid counter-selection medium (see U.S. Pat. No. 5,563,055).

The explants may then be picked, embedded and cultured in solidified selection medium. After one month on selective media transformed tissue becomes visible as green sectors of regenerating tissue against a background of bleached, less healthy tissue. Explants with green sectors are transferred to an elongation medium. Culture is continued on this medium with transfers to fresh plates every two weeks. When shoots are 0.5 cm in length they may be excised at the base and placed in a rooting medium.

Example XIII

Transformation of Monocots to Produce Increased Photosynthesis, Yield or Abiotic Stress Tolerance

Cereal plants such as, but not limited to, corn, wheat, rice, sorghum, or barley, may be transformed with the present polynucleotide sequences, including monocot or dicot-derived sequences such as those presented in the present Tables, cloned into a vector such as pGA643 and containing a kanamycin-resistance marker, and expressed constitutively under, for example, the CaMV 35S or COR15 promoters, or with tissue-specific or inducible promoters. The expression vectors may be one found in the Sequence Listing, or any other suitable expression vector may be similarly used. For example, pMENO20 may be modified to replace the NptII coding region with the BAR gene of Streptomyces hygroscopicus that confers resistance to phosphinothricin. The KpnI and BglII sites of the Bar gene are removed by site-directed mutagenesis with silent codon changes.

The cloning vector may be introduced into a variety of cereal plants by means well known in the art including direct DNA transfer or Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. The latter approach may be accomplished by a variety of means, including, for example, that of U.S. Pat. No. 5,591,616, in which monocotyledon callus is transformed by contacting dedifferentiating tissue with the Agrobacterium containing the cloning vector.

The sample tissues are immersed in a suspension of 3×10−9 cells of Agrobacterium containing the cloning vector for 3-10 minutes. The callus material is cultured on solid medium at 25° C. in the dark for several days. The calli grown on this medium are transferred to Regeneration medium. Transfers are continued every 2-3 weeks (2 or 3 times) until shoots develop. Shoots are then transferred to Shoot-Elongation medium every 2-3 weeks. Healthy looking shoots are transferred to rooting medium and after roots have developed, the plants are placed into moist potting soil.

The transformed plants are then analyzed for the presence of the NPTII gene/kanamycin resistance by ELISA, using the ELISA NPTII kit from SPrime-3Prime Inc. (Boulder, Colo.).

It is also routine to use other methods to produce transgenic plants of most cereal crops (Vasil (1994) Plant Mol. Biol. 25: 925-937) such as corn, wheat, rice, sorghum (Cassas et al. (1993)), and barley (Wan and Lemeaux (1994)). DNA transfer methods such as the microprojectile method can be used for corn (Fromm et al. (1990); Gordon-Kamm et al. (1990); Ishida (1990)), wheat (Vasil et al. (1992) Bio/Technol. 10:667-674; Vasil et al. (1993) Bio/Technol. 11: 1553-1558; Weeks et al. (1993) Plant Physiol. 102: 1077-1084), and rice (Christou (1991) Bio/Technol. 9:957-962; Hiei et al. (1994) Plant J. 6:271-282; Aldemita and Hodges (1996) Planta 199: 612-617; and Hiei et al. (1997) Plant Mol. Biol. 35:205-218). For most cereal plants, embryogenic cells derived from immature scutellum tissues are the preferred cellular targets for transformation (Hiei et al. (1997) supra; Vasil (1994) supra). For transforming corn embryogenic cells derived from immature scutellar tissue using microprojectile bombardment, the A188XB73 genotype is the preferred genotype (Fromm et al. (1990) Bio/Technol. 8: 833-839; Gordon-Kamm et al. (1990) Plant Cell 2: 603-618). After microprojectile bombardment the tissues are selected on phosphinothricin to identify the transgenic embryogenic cells (Gordon-Kamm et al. (1990) supra). Transgenic plants are regenerated by standard corn regeneration techniques (Fromm et al. (1990) supra; Gordon-Kamm et al. (1990) supra).

Example XIV

Expression and Analysis of Increased Photosynthesis, Yield or Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Non-Arabidopsis species

It is expected that structurally similar orthologs of the G1435 clade of polypeptide sequences, including those found in the Sequence Listing, can confer increased yield relative to control plants. As sequences of the invention have been shown to increase photosynthesis and/or yield in a variety of plant species, it is also expected that these sequences will increase yield of crop or other commercially important plant species.

Northern blot analysis, RT-PCR or microarray analysis of the regenerated, transformed plants may be used to show expression of a polypeptide or the invention and related genes that are capable of inducing abiotic stress tolerance, and/or larger size.

After a dicot plant, monocot plant or plant cell has been transformed (and the latter regenerated into a plant) and shown to have greater size, improved yield, or able to tolerate greater planting density with a coincident increase in yield, the transformed monocot plant may be crossed with itself or a plant from the same line, a non-transformed or wild-type monocot plant, or another transformed monocot plant from a different transgenic line of plants.

The function of specific polypeptides of the invention, including closely-related orthologs, have been analyzed and may be further characterized and incorporated into crop plants. The ectopic overexpression of these sequences may be regulated using constitutive, inducible, or tissue specific regulatory elements. Genes that have been examined and have been shown to modify plant traits (including increasing yield and/or abiotic stress tolerance) encode polypeptides found in the Sequence Listing. In addition to these sequences, it is expected that newly discovered polynucleotide and polypeptide sequences closely related to polynucleotide and polypeptide sequences found in the Sequence Listing can also confer alteration of traits in a similar manner to the sequences found in the Sequence Listing, when transformed into any of a considerable variety of plants of different species, and including dicots and monocots. The polynucleotide and polypeptide sequences derived from monocots (e.g., the rice sequences) may be used to transform both monocot and dicot plants, and those derived from dicots (e.g., the Arabidopsis and soy genes) may be used to transform either group, although it is expected that some of these sequences will function best if the gene is transformed into a plant from the same group as that from which the sequence is derived.

Sequences of the invention, that is, members of the G1435 clade, may also be used to generate transgenic plants that have increased photosynthetic capacity, produce larger plants and/or greater yield than control plants.

It is expected that the same methods may be applied to identify other useful and valuable sequences of the present polypeptide clades, and the sequences may be derived from a diverse range of species.

All publications and patent applications mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each individual publication or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference.

The present invention is not limited by the specific embodiments described herein. The invention now being fully described, it will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that many changes and modifications can be made thereto without departing from the spirit or scope of the appended claims. Modifications that become apparent from the foregoing description and accompanying figures fall within the scope of the claims.