J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2005, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (5): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2005.00046.x

• Research Articles •    

Genetic Transformation of Tobacco with the Trehalose Synthase Gene from Grifola frondosa Fr. Enhances the Resistance to Drought and Salt in Tobacco

Shu-Zhen ZHANG, Ben-Peng YANG , Cui-Lian FENG,Huo-Long TANG   

Abstract: Trehalose is a non-reducing disaccharide of glucose that functions as a protectant in the stabilization of biological structures and enhances the tolerance of organisms to abiotic stress. In the present study, we report on the expression of the Grifola frondosa Fr. trehalose synthase (TSase) gene for manipulating abiotic stress tolerance in tobacco (Nicotiana tabaccum L.). The expression of the transgene was under the control of two tandem copies of the CaMV35S promoter and was transferred into tobacco by Agrobacterium tumefaciens EHA105. Compared with non-transgenic plants, transgenic plants were able to accumulate high levels of products of trehalose, which were increased up to 2.126–2.556 mg/g FW, although levels were undetectable in non-transgenic plants. This level of trehalose in transgenic plants was 400-fold higher than that of transgenic tobacco plants cotransformed with Escherichia coli TPS and TPP on independent expression cassettes, twofold higher than that of transgenic rice plants transformed with a bifunctional fusion gene (TPSP) of the trehalose-6-phosphate (T-6-P) synthase (TPS) and T-6-P phosphatase (TPP) of E. coli, and 12-fold higher than that of transgenic tobacco plants transformed the yeast TPS1 gene. It has been reported that transgenic plants with E. coli TPS and/or TPP were severely stunted and had morphological alterations of their roots. Interestingly, our transgenic plants have obvious morphological changes, including thick and deep-coloured leaves, but show no growth inhibition; moreover, these morphological changes can restore to normal type in T2 progenies. Trehalose accumulation in 35S-35S:TSase plants resulted in increased tolerance to drought and salt, as shown by the results of tests on drought, salt tolerance, and drought physiological indices, such as water content in excised leaves, malondialdehyde content, chlorophyll a and b contents, and the activity of superoxide dismutase and peroxidase in excised leaves. These results suggest that transgenic plants transformed with the TSase gene can accumulate high levels of trehalose and have enhanced tolerance to drought and salt.

Key words: drought and salt tolerance, genetic transformation, Grifola frondosa Fr., Nicotiana tabaccum L., trehalose synthase gene.

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