Location: Plant Genetics Research
Project Number: 5070-21000-037-00
Start Date: Mar 26, 2013
End Date: Mar 25, 2018
To determine the function of transcription factor genes and regulatory networks in soybean oil production a bioinformatic approach will be used to refine a selection of previously identified target genes. The resultant candidate genes will be functionally characterized in situ using an RNAi approach to impair the natural expression of the native gene in transgenic soybean lines. Functionality will be assessed by assessment of the seed oil composition in the transgenic lines. MicroRNA species that regulate oil production pathways in soybean seeds will be validated bioinformatically and by direct testing using standard molecular technologies. Transgenic approaches will be used to determine the functions of the miRNAs in regulating oil content and composition in seeds and their underlying gene regulatory networks by overexpressing or suppressing activity of the selected miRNAs in soybean. The functions of selected soybean genes in the control of oil composition and content will be explored by comparative bioinformatics approaches using Arabidopsis as a model seed. The soybean/Arabidopsis orthologous genes encoding candidate seed specific transcription factors will be preferentially selected for functional validation. The functional significance and equivalence of the paired Arabidopsis and soybean genes will be validated by selecting a minimum of two pairs of Arabidopsis/soybean genes, examine the oil and transcriptomic phenotypes of mutants that can be identified in Arabidopsis, use complementation transgenic strategies to determine if the soybean genes can functionally complement the phenotypes of the Arabidopsis mutants. The soybean genes that exhibit functions in oil composition and content will then be directly tested in soybean transgenic plants.