Abstract: Drought is a major threat to agriculture production worldwide. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) play a pivotal role in sensing and converting stress signals into appropriate responses so that plants can adapt and survive. To examine the function of MAPKs in the drought tolerance of tomato plants, we silenced the SpMPK1, SpMPK2, and SpMPK3 genes in wild-type plants using the virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) method. The results indicate that silencing the individual genes or co-silencing SpMPK1, SpMPK2, and SpMPK3 reduced the drought tolerance of tomato plants by varying degrees. Co-silencing SpMPK1 and SpMPK2 impaired abscisic acid (ABA)-induced and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced stomatal closure and enhanced ABA-induced H2O2 production. Similar results were observed when silencing SpMPK3 alone, but not when SpMPK1 and SpMPK2 were individually silenced. These data suggest that the functions of SpMPK1 and SpMPK2 are redundant, and they overlap with that of SpMPK3 in drought stress signaling pathways. In addition, we found that SpMPK3 may regulate H2O2 levels by mediating the expression of CAT1. Hence, SpMPK1, SpMPK2, and SpMPK3 may play crucial roles in enhancing tomato plants’ drought tolerance by influencing stomatal activity and H2O2 production via the ABA-H2O2 pathway.
Keywords: Solanum pimpinellifolium; protein kinase; stomata; drought tolerance; virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS)
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Li, C.; Yan, J.-M.; Li, Y.-Z.; Zhang, Z.-C.; Wang, Q.-L.; Liang, Y. Silencing the SpMPK1, SpMPK2, and SpMPK3 Genes in Tomato Reduces Abscisic Acid—Mediated Drought Tolerance. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 21983-21996.
Li C, Yan J-M, Li Y-Z, Zhang Z-C, Wang Q-L, Liang Y. Silencing the SpMPK1, SpMPK2, and SpMPK3 Genes in Tomato Reduces Abscisic Acid—Mediated Drought Tolerance. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2013; 14(11):21983-21996.
Li, Cui; Yan, Jian-Min; Li, Yun-Zhou; Zhang, Zhen-Cai; Wang, Qiao-Li; Liang, Yan. 2013. "Silencing the SpMPK1, SpMPK2, and SpMPK3 Genes in Tomato Reduces Abscisic Acid—Mediated Drought Tolerance." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 14, no. 11: 21983-21996.