Author(s): Quan R, Shang M, Zhang H, Zhao Y, Zhang J
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Abstract Glycine betaine plays an important role in some plants, including maize, in conditions of abiotic stress, but different maize varieties vary in their capacity to accumulate glycine betaine. An elite maize inbred line DH4866 was transformed with the betA gene from Escherichia coli encoding choline dehydrogenase (EC 188.8.131.52), a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of glycine betaine from choline. The transgenic maize plants accumulated higher levels of glycine betaine and were more tolerant to drought stress than wild-type plants (non-transgenic) at germination and the young seedling stage. Most importantly, the grain yield of transgenic plants was significantly higher than that of wild-type plants after drought treatment. The enhanced glycine betaine accumulation in transgenic maize provides greater protection of the integrity of the cell membrane and greater activity of enzymes compared with wild-type plants in conditions of drought stress.
This article was published in Plant Biotechnol J
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research