Research Article

Functional divergence of BAK1 genes from Brassica rapa in regulating plant architecture

Published: November 19, 2015
Genet. Mol. Res. 14 (4) : 14587-14596 DOI: 10.4238/2015.November.18.22

Abstract

BAK1 is a co-receptor of BRI1 in early signaling pathways mediated by brassinosteroids (BRs) and is thought to play a major role in plant growth and development. As the role of BAK1 has not yet been fully elucidated then further research is required to explore its potential for use in genetic modification to improve crops. In this study, three BAK1 genes from the amphidiploid species Brassica rapa were isolated and their kinase functions were predicted following DNA sequence analysis. A bioinformatic analysis revealed that two genes, BrBAK1-1 and BrBAK1-8, shared a conserved kinase domain and 5 tandem leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) that are characteristic of a BAK1 receptor for BR perception, whereas the third gene, BrBAK1-3, was deficient for a signal peptide, but had 4 leucine zippers and 3 leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) in an extracellular domain. All three BrBAK1 kinases localized on the cellular membrane. Ectopic expression of each BrBAK1 gene in BR-insensitive (bri1-5 mutant) Arabidopsis plants indicated that BrBAK1-1 and BrBAK1-8 were functional homologues of AtBAK1 based on the rescue of growth in the bri1-5 mutant. Overexpression of BrBAK1-3 caused a severe dwarf phenotype resembling the phenotype of null BRI1 alleles. The results here suggest there are significant differences among the three BrBAK1 kinases for their effects on plant architecture. This conclusion has important implications for genetic modification of B. rapa.

BAK1 is a co-receptor of BRI1 in early signaling pathways mediated by brassinosteroids (BRs) and is thought to play a major role in plant growth and development. As the role of BAK1 has not yet been fully elucidated then further research is required to explore its potential for use in genetic modification to improve crops. In this study, three BAK1 genes from the amphidiploid species Brassica rapa were isolated and their kinase functions were predicted following DNA sequence analysis. A bioinformatic analysis revealed that two genes, BrBAK1-1 and BrBAK1-8, shared a conserved kinase domain and 5 tandem leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) that are characteristic of a BAK1 receptor for BR perception, whereas the third gene, BrBAK1-3, was deficient for a signal peptide, but had 4 leucine zippers and 3 leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) in an extracellular domain. All three BrBAK1 kinases localized on the cellular membrane. Ectopic expression of each BrBAK1 gene in BR-insensitive (bri1-5 mutant) Arabidopsis plants indicated that BrBAK1-1 and BrBAK1-8 were functional homologues of AtBAK1 based on the rescue of growth in the bri1-5 mutant. Overexpression of BrBAK1-3 caused a severe dwarf phenotype resembling the phenotype of null BRI1 alleles. The results here suggest there are significant differences among the three BrBAK1 kinases for their effects on plant architecture. This conclusion has important implications for genetic modification of B. rapa.