Methods and Compositions to Modulate Ethylene Sensitivity
Inventors: Joseph Ecker, Anna Stepanova
Potential Uses: Plant Biology, Agriculture, Floriculture
Novel transcription factors affecting ethylene sensitivity in plants
A small family of novel transcription factors, termed "Ethylene-Response DNA-Binding Factors" (EDFs) were found to be involved in transcriptional regulation of ethylene-inducible genes and pathways. Mutant or transformed plants having inactivated or partially inactivated EDF genes (i.e. edf1, edf2, edf3, or edf4) may have a decreased sensitivity to ethylene. The invention includes the genetic modifications of EDF proteins and the genes that encode them to alter plant sensitivity and responsiveness to ethylene. Plants having reduced sensitivity to ethylene could be useful in the floral industry. These modified plants may have longer flower longevity. Further, EDF genes could be used to create vegetative crops that do not bolt or flower easily. For example, lettuce, spinach, and other leafy vegetables or certain herbs may have higher yields due to decreased floral initiation. Other plants may benefit from decreasing ethylene sensitivity at fruit ripening , by linking a modified EDF gene to a fruit-ripening-specific promoter. Yet another use would be to linking the EDF modified gene to a darkness-inducible promoter which could be useful in the long term storage of certain crops between the time of harvest and sale.