BACKGROUND: Xylanases have attracted considerable interest in recent years owing to their various applications in industry and agriculture. The use of transgenic plants to produce xylanases is a less expensive alternative to biotechnological programmes. The aim of this study was to elucidate whether introducing a foreign xylanase gene ATX into rice had any adverse effect on plant growth and development.
RESULTS: A recombinant xylanase gene ATX was introduced into rice variety Zhonghua 11 through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The T2 generation of transgenic rice was compared with the control (non-transgenic plants). Exogenous xylanase gene ATX was expressed in rice, and all examined transgenic lines exhibited xylanase activity. The transgenic lines (T2, ‘X1-3’ and ‘X2-5’) appeared to grow and develop normally. There were no differences in net photosynthetic rate between transgenic rice lines (‘X1-3’ and ‘X2-5’) and wild type (WT) rice plants at the heading/flowering stage. Xylanases are key enzymes in the degradation of plant cell walls. Cell wall composition analysis showed that that there were no changes in cell wall polysaccharides in the root apex but some alterations in leaves in transgenic rice plants. The results also showed that the expression of exogenous xylanase gene ATX in rice would increase the expression of endogenous xylanase inhibitor gene RIXI, which could play a role in plant defence. Thus the stress resistance of transgenic rice plants might be improved.
CONCLUSION: Exogenous xylanase gene ATX could be successfully expressed in rice, and the exogenous protein had no apparent harmful effects on growth and development in transgenic rice plants. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry