Target Of Rapamycin (TOR Kinase) is essential for asexual vegetative reproduction in Kalanchoë

Kirsty Mccready, Victoria Spencer, Francisco Jácome Blásquez, Jamie Louise Burnett, Itzel Margarita Viveros Sánchez, Zara Riches, Minsung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The unique mechanism by which leaf margin cells regain potency and then form a plantlet in Kalanchoë spp. remains elusive, but involves organogenesis and embryogenesis in response to age, day length, nutrient availability and drought stress. In light of this, we investigated whether Target Of Rapamycin (TOR), a conserved protein kinase in eukaryotes which controls cell growth and metabolism in response to nutrient and energy availability, may regulate plantlet formation. KdTOR was expressed in the leaf margin at the site of plantlet initiation, in the early plantlet cotyledons and in the root tip of the developed plantlet. Both chemical and genetic inhibition of TOR Kinase activity in Kalanchoë daigremontiana leaves disrupted plantlet formation. Furthermore, downregulation of KdTOR in transgenic plants led to wide-ranging transcriptional changes, including decreased KdSTM and KdLEC1 expression, whereas auxin treatments induced KdTOR expression in the plantlet roots. These results suggest that the KdTOR pathway controls plantlet development in cooperation with auxin, organogenesis, and embryogenesis pathways. The ancient and highly conserved TOR Kinase therefore controls diverse and novel developmental pathways such as asexual reproduction within the land plant lineage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Physiology
Early online date22 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2022


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