Author(s): Xu D, Duan X, Wang B, Hong B, Ho T,
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Abstract A late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) protein gene, HVA1, from barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) was introduced into rice suspension cells using the Biolistic-mediated transformation method, and a large number of independent transgenic rice (Oryza sativa L.) plants were generated. Expression of the barley HVA1 gene regulated by the rice actin 1 gene promoter led to high-level, constitutive accumulation of the HVA1 protein in both leaves and roots of transgenic rice plants. Second-generation transgenic rice plants showed significantly increased tolerance to water deficit and salinity. Transgenic rice plants maintained higher growth rates than nontransformed control plants under stress conditions. The increased tolerance was also reflected by delayed development of damage symptoms caused by stress and by improved recovery upon the removal of stress conditions. We also found that the extent of increased stress tolerance correlated with the level of the HVA1 protein accumulated in the transgenic rice plants. Using a transgenic approach, this study provides direct evidence supporting the hypothesis that LEA proteins play an important role in the protection of plants under water-or salt-stress conditions. Thus, LEA genes hold considerable potential for use as molecular tools for genetic crop improvement toward stress tolerance.
This article was published in Plant Physiol
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research