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Overexpression of a Wheat Aquaporin Gene, TdPIP2;1, Enhances Salt and Drought Tolerance in Transgenic Durum Wheat cv. Maali

Biotechnology and Plant Improvement Laboratory, Centre of Biotechnology of Sfax (CBS), University of Sfax, B.P 1177, 3018 Sfax, Tunisia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Present address: Arid Land Department, College of Food and Agriculture, United Arab Emirates University, P.O. Box 15551, Al Ain, UAE.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2389; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20102389
Received: 16 April 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Wheat and Barley)
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Abstract

In this study, we generated transgenic durum wheat cv. Maali overexpressing the wheat plasma membrane aquaporin TdPIP2;1 gene under the control of PrTdPIP2;1 promoter or under the constitutive PrCaMV35S promoter. Histochemical analysis of the fusion PrTdPIP2;1::TdPIP2;1::GusA in wheat plants showed that the β-glucuronidase (GUS) activity was detected in the leaves, stems and roots of stably transformed wheat T3 plants. Our results showed that transgenic wheat lines overexpressing the TdPIP2;1 gene exhibited improved germination rates and biomass production and retained low Na+ and high K+ concentrations in their shoots under high salt and osmotic stress conditions. In a long-term study under greenhouse conditions on salt or drought stress, transgenic TdPIP2;1 lines produced filled grains, whereas wild-type (WT) plants either died at the vegetative stage under salt stress or showed drastically reduced grain filling under drought stress. Performing real time RT-PCR experiments on wheat plants transformed with the fusion PrTdPIP2;1::GusA, we showed an increase in the accumulation of GusA transcripts in the roots of plants challenged with salt and drought stress. Study of the antioxidant defence system in transgenic wheat TdPIP2;1 lines showed that these lines induced the antioxidative enzymes Catalase (CAT) and Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities more efficiently than the WT plants, which is associated with lower malondialdehyde and hydrogen peroxide contents. Taken together, these results indicate the high potential of the TdPIP2;1 gene for reducing water evaporation from leaves (water loss) in response to water deficit through the lowering of transpiration per unit leaf area (stomatal conductance) and engineering effective drought and salt tolerance in transgenic TdPIP2;1 lines. View Full-Text
Keywords: abiotic stress; antioxidant enzymes; aquaporin; TdPIP2;1; histochemical analysis; transgenic wheat; transpiration abiotic stress; antioxidant enzymes; aquaporin; TdPIP2;1; histochemical analysis; transgenic wheat; transpiration
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Ayadi, M.; Brini, F.; Masmoudi, K. Overexpression of a Wheat Aquaporin Gene, TdPIP2;1, Enhances Salt and Drought Tolerance in Transgenic Durum Wheat cv. Maali. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 2389.

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