Activation tagging in Solanum tuberosum: Innate immune activation affects potato tuber periderm development

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Frank, Daniel
activation tagging , periderm , potato , functional genomics , Solanum tuberosum
Activation-tagging is a functional genomics technique where strong enhancers are inserted randomly into target genomes to over-activate endogenous genes. Phenotypes of interest can be selected for investigation of genetic factors contributing to the mutant phenotype. From initial screens of a population of activation-tagged potato, a mutant with chocolate-coloured tuber skin has been identified. In this thesis, a novel sequence capture method for identifying T-DNA loci in activation tagged potato was used to characterize chocolate’s single T-DNA insertion locus. Transcriptome analysis of tuber periderm tissue was used to identify major processes occurring in the chocolate mutant. Our data suggest activation of a chitin-binding receptor-like kinase located 65 kb from T-DNA insert may cause activation of immune signaling pathways in chocolate. The present work explores a putative model of transcriptional and cellular responses involved in gain-of-function immune receptor activation. Selectively, these findings illustrate the periderm tissue as an important area of defense charged against biotic and abiotic stresses. Periderm development and anatomy are highly important for tuber storage. Further characterization of potato tuber periderm may contribute knowledge to model periderm systems and have implications for molecular breeding strategies to improve tuber storage quality.
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