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2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2017.02.003

Enhancing soybean photosynthetic CO2 assimilation using a cyanobacterial membrane protein, ictB

Journal of Plant Physiology, 212, 58-68.

William T. Hay, Saadia Bihmidine, Nedim Mutlu, Khang Le Hoang, Tala Awada, Donald P. Weeks, Tom E. Clemente, and Stephen P. Long


Soybean C3 photosynthesis can suffer a severe loss in efficiency due to photorespiration and the lack of a carbon concentrating mechanism (CCM) such as those present in other plant species or cyanobacteria. Transgenic soybean (Glycine max cv. Thorne) plants constitutively expressing cyanobacterial ictB (inorganic carbon transporter B) gene were generated using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Although more recent data suggest that ictB does not actively transport HCO3-/CO2, there is nevertheless mounting evidence that transformation with this gene can increase higher plant photosynthesis. The hypothesis that expression of the ictB gene would improve photosynthesis, biomass production and seed yield in soybean was tested, in two independent replicated greenhouse and field trials. Results showed significant increases in photosynthetic CO2 uptake (Anet) and dry mass in transgenic relative to wild type (WT) control plants in both the greenhouse and field trials. Transgenic plants also showed increased photosynthetic rates and biomass production during a drought mimic study. The findings presented herein demonstrate that ictB, as a single-gene, contributes to enhancement in various yield parameters in a major commodity crop and point to the significant role that biotechnological approaches to increasing photosynthetic efficiency can play in helping to meet increased global demands for food.

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The LongLab is supported by many public and private partnerships, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, the UK Government's Department for International Development, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

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