GOLDEN2‐LIKE transcription factors:A golden ticket to improve crops?

Hernández‐Verdeja, Tamara and Lundgren, Marjorie R. (2023) GOLDEN2‐LIKE transcription factors:A golden ticket to improve crops? Plants, People, Planet. ISSN 2572-2611

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Societal impact statement: The human population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in the next 30 years, increasing the strain on our already precarious food system. Climate change is shifting weather patterns, leading to unpredictable and catastrophic events that further threaten the agronomic sector. Plant scientists are implementing biotechnological tools to sustainably increase both the production and nutritional content of our crops. Engineering GOLDEN2‐LIKE (GLK) transcription factors is a promising route to improve photosynthesis, as well as other important agronomical traits, to achieve food security for a growing population under an unpredictable climate. Summary: Using agricultural biotechnology to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of crops has been a focus of plant science research over the last two decades. Transcription factors coordinate the expression of gene networks that are the basis of plant development and physiological responses and, as such, are good targets to help improve photosynthesis. Among the known plant transcriptional regulators, GOLDEN2‐LIKE transcription factors (GLKs) may be ideal candidates to improve photosynthesis in crops, as they are master regulators of genes associated with photosynthesis and chloroplast biogenesis across a broad diversity of plant lineages. Moreover, recent work has revealed their involvement in environmental response, pathogen defence and development regulation across the plant's whole life cycle. Thus, manipulating GLK expression and activity, alone or likely in combination with other modifications, has clear potential to improve plant development and growth. Here, we review the research into GLK function and discuss the potential of these key transcription factors as biotechnological tools to enhance photosynthetic efficiency and stress tolerance in crops. Additionally, we take advantage of the vast plant genome and transcriptome datasets available to explore the evolutionary history of GLKs across the plant kingdom and discuss the implications for their adoption into crop engineering projects.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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Plants, People, Planet
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Deposited On:
04 Aug 2023 11:00
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 02:16