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Heterologous Expression of the DREB Transcription Factor AhDREB in Populus tomentosa Carrière Confers Tolerance to Salt without Growth Reduction under Greenhouse Conditions

1
Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Tree Breeding by Molecular Design, College of Biological Sciences and Technology, National Engineering Laboratory for Tree Breeding, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
2
Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
3
Cangzhou Municipal Forestry Seeding and Cutting Management Center, Cangzhou 061001, China
4
Shandong Academy of Forestry, Jinan 250014, China
5
Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(3), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10030214
Received: 28 January 2019 / Revised: 17 February 2019 / Accepted: 22 February 2019 / Published: 27 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Abstract

The DREB transcription factors regulate multiple stress response genes, and are therefore useful for molecular plant breeding. AhDREB, a stress-inducible gene, was isolated from Atriplex hortensis L. and introduced into Populus tomentosa Carrière under the control of the CaMV35S promoter. Under salt stress, the chlorophyll content and net photosynthetic rate were higher in transgenic lines than in the wild type (WT). Moreover, the rate of electrolyte penetration (REC) was lower in the transgenic lines. Additional analyses revealed that the AhDREB transgenic plants generally displayed lower malondialdehyde (MDA) activity but higher superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD) activities and proline content than the WT under salt stress. RNA sequencing indicated that AhDREB could enhance tolerance to salt by activating various downstream genes in the transgenic plants. Furthermore, no growth inhibition was detected in transgenic plants expressing AhDREB driven by the constitutive CaMV35S promoter. The transcriptome showed 165 and 52 differentially expressed genes in transgenic plants under stress and non-stress conditions, respectively, among which no significant metabolic pathway was enriched and no unintended effects have yet been identified. Together, these results suggest that AhDREB may be a good candidate gene for increasing salt tolerance in transgenic poplar breeding. View Full-Text
Keywords: Populus tomentosa; AhDREB; salt; unintended effects; photosynthesis; antioxidant defense system Populus tomentosa; AhDREB; salt; unintended effects; photosynthesis; antioxidant defense system
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Guo, Q.; Lu, N.; Sun, Y.; Lv, W.; Luo, Z.; Zhang, H.; Ji, Q.; Yang, Q.; Chen, S.; Zhang, W.; Li, Y. Heterologous Expression of the DREB Transcription Factor AhDREB in Populus tomentosa Carrière Confers Tolerance to Salt without Growth Reduction under Greenhouse Conditions. Forests 2019, 10, 214.

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