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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1077; doi:10.3390/ijms17071077

Interspecies and Intraspecies Analysis of Trehalose Contents and the Biosynthesis Pathway Gene Family Reveals Crucial Roles of Trehalose in Osmotic-Stress Tolerance in Cassava

Institute of Tropical Bioscience and Biotechnology, Key Laboratory of Tropical Crops Biology and Genetic Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Hainan Bioenergy Center, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS), Xueyuan Road 4, Haikou 571101, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marcello Iriti
Received: 12 May 2016 / Revised: 28 June 2016 / Accepted: 29 June 2016 / Published: 13 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Botany)
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Abstract

Trehalose is a nonreducing α,α-1,1-disaccharide in a wide range of organisms, and has diverse biological functions that range from serving as an energy source to acting as a protective/signal sugar. However, significant amounts of trehalose have rarely been detected in higher plants, and the function of trehalose in the drought-tolerant crop cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is unclear. We measured soluble sugar concentrations of nine plant species with differing levels of drought tolerance and 41 cassava varieties using high-performance liquid chromatography with evaporative light-scattering detector (HPLC-ELSD). Significantly high amounts of trehalose were identified in drought-tolerant crops cassava, Jatropha curcas, and castor bean (Ricinus communis). All cassava varieties tested contained high amounts of trehalose, although their concentrations varied from 0.23 to 1.29 mg·g−1 fresh weight (FW), and the trehalose level was highly correlated with dehydration stress tolerance of detached leaves of the varieties. Moreover, the trehalose concentrations in cassava leaves increased 2.3–5.5 folds in response to osmotic stress simulated by 20% PEG 6000. Through database mining, 24 trehalose pathway genes, including 12 trehalose-6-phosphate synthases (TPS), 10 trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatases (TPP), and two trehalases were identified in cassava. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that there were four cassava TPS genes (MeTPS1–4) that were orthologous to the solely active TPS gene (AtTPS1 and OsTPS1) in Arabidopsis and rice, and a new TPP subfamily was identified in cassava, suggesting that the trehalose biosynthesis activities in cassava had potentially been enhanced in evolutionary history. RNA-seq analysis indicated that MeTPS1 was expressed at constitutionally high level before and after osmotic stress, while other trehalose pathway genes were either up-regulated or down-regulated, which may explain why cassava accumulated high level of trehalose under normal conditions. MeTPS1 was then transformed into tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana). Results indicated that transgenic tobacco lines accumulated significant level of trehalose and possessed improved drought stress tolerance. In conclusion, cassava accumulated significantly high amount of trehalose under normal conditions due to multiplied trehalose biosynthesis gene families and constant expression of the active MeTPS1 gene. High levels of trehalose subsequently contributed to high drought stress tolerance. View Full-Text
Keywords: Manihot esculenta; drought tolerance; HPLC-ELSD; phylogenetic analysis; trehalase; abiotic stress; RNA-seq Manihot esculenta; drought tolerance; HPLC-ELSD; phylogenetic analysis; trehalase; abiotic stress; RNA-seq
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MDPI and ACS Style

Han, B.; Fu, L.; Zhang, D.; He, X.; Chen, Q.; Peng, M.; Zhang, J. Interspecies and Intraspecies Analysis of Trehalose Contents and the Biosynthesis Pathway Gene Family Reveals Crucial Roles of Trehalose in Osmotic-Stress Tolerance in Cassava. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1077.

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