Browsing by Author "McCormick, Alistair James"
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- ItemExpression behaviour of primary carbon metabolism genes during sugarcane culm development(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2004-04) McCormick, Alistair James; Watt, D.; Huckett, B. I.; Botha, F. C.; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Agrisciences. Dept. of Genetics. Institute for Plant Biotechnology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Despite numerous attempts involving a variety of target genes, the successful transgenic manipulation of sucrose accumulation in sugarcane remains elusive. It is becoming increasingly apparent that enhancing sucrose storage in the culm by molecular means may depend on the modification of the activity of a novel gene target. One possible approach to identify target genes playing crucial coarse regulatory roles in sucrose accumulation is to assess gene expression during the developmental transition of the culm from active growth to maturation. This study has resulted in the successful optimisation of a mRNA hybridisation technique to characterise the expression of 90 carbohydrate metabolism-related genes in three developmentally distinct regions of sugarcane culm. A further goal of this work was to extend the limited knowledge of the regulation of sucrose metabolism in sugarcane, as well as to complement existing data from physiological and biochemical studies. Three mRNA populations derived from the different culm regions were assayed and their hybridisation intensities to the immobilised gene sequences statistically evaluated. The relative mRNA transcript abundance of 74 genes from three differing regions of culm maturity was documented. Genes exhibiting high relative expression in the culm included aldolase, hexokinase, cellulase, alcohol dehydrogenase and soluble acid invertase. Several genes (15) were demonstrated to have significantly different expression levels in the culm regions assessed. These included UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase and UDP-glucose dehydrogenase, which were down-regulated between immature and mature internodes. Conversely, sucrose phosphate synthase, sucrose synthase and neutral invertase exhibited up-regulation in maturing internodal tissue. A variety of sugar transporters were also found to be up-regulated in mature culm, indicating a possible control point of flux into mature stem sink tissues. Combined with knowledge of the levels of key metabolites and metabolic intermediates this gene expression data will contribute to identifying key control points of sucrose accumulation in sugarcane and assist in the identification of gene targets for future manipulation by transgenic approaches.