J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2006, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (4): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2006.00246.x

• Research Articles •    

Expression of the Grifola frondosa Trehalose Synthase Gene and Improvement of Drought-Tolerance in Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.)

Shu-Zhen Zhang, Ben-Peng Yang, Cui-Lian Feng, Ru-Kai Chen, Jing-Ping Luo, Wen-Wei Cai and Fei-Hu Liu   

Abstract: Trehalose is a nonreducing disaccharide of glucose that functions as a protectant in the stabilization of biological structures and enhances stress tolerance to abiotic stresses in organisms. We report here the expression of a Grifola frondosa trehalose synthase (TSase) gene for improving drought tolerance in sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.). The expression of the transgene was under the control of two tandem copies of the CaMV35S promoter and transferred into sugarcane by Agrobacterium tumefaciens EHA105. The transgenic plants accumulated high levels of trehalose, up to 8.805–12.863 mg/g fresh weight, whereas it was present at undetectable level in nontransgenic plants. It has been reported that transgenic plants transformed with Escherichia coli TPS (trehalose-6-phosphatesynthase) and/or TPP (trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase) are severely stunted and have root morphologic alterations. Interestingly, our transgenic sugarcane plants had no obvious morphological changes and no growth inhibition in the field. Trehalose accumulation in 35S-35S:TSase plants resulted in increased drought tolerance, as shown by the drought and the drought physiological indexes, such as the rate of bound water/free water, plasma membrane permeability, malondialdehyde content, chlorophyll a and b contents, and activity of SOD and POD of the 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.(Author for correspondence.Tel: 0898 66892735;E-mail: zhangsz@public.hk.hi.cn)

Key words: drought tolerance, Grifola frondosa, Saccharum officinarum, trehalose synthase gene.

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