J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2006, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (9): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2006.00335.x

• Research Articles •    

Antisense-Mediated Depletion of Tomato Chloroplast Omega-3 Fatty Acid Desaturase Enhances Thermal Tolerance

Xun-Yan Liu, Jing-Hua Yang, Bin Li, Xiu-Mei Yang and Qing-Wei Meng   

Abstract: A chloroplast-localized tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) ω-3 fatty acid desaturase gene (LeFAD7) was isolated and characterized with regard to its sequence, response to various temperatures, and function in antisense transgenic tomato plants. The deduced amino acid sequence had four histidine-rich regions, of which three regions were highly conserved throughout the whole ω-3 fatty acid desaturase gene family. Southern blotting analysis showed that LeFAD7 was encoded by a single copy gene and had two homologous genes in the tomato genome. Northern blot showed that LeFAD7 was expressed in all organs and was especially abundant in leaf tissue. Meanwhile, expression of LeFAD7 was induced by chilling stress (4 °C), but was inhibited by high temperature (45 °C), in leaves. Transgenic tomato plants were produced by integration of the antisense LeFAD7 DNA under the control of a CaMV35S promoter into the genome. Antisense transgenic plants with lower 18 : 3 content could maintain a higher maximal photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) and O2 evolution rate than wild-type plants. These results suggested that silence of the LeFAD7 gene alleviated high-temperature stress. There was also a correlation between the low content of 18 : 3 resulting from silence of the LeFAD7 gene and tolerance to high-temperature stress.(*Author for correspondence.Tel: +86 (0)538 824 9606;E-mail:qwmeng@sdau.edu.cn)

Key words: chloroplast-localized ω-3 fatty acid desaturase, gene expression, thermal tolerance, tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), tomato transformation.

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