The hot pepper xyloglucan endo-trans-gluco-sylase/hydrolase (CaXTH3) gene that was inducible by a broad spectrum of abiotic stresses in hot pepper has been reported to enhance tolerance to drought and high salinity in transgenic Arabidopsis. To assess whether CaXTH3 is a practically useful target gene for improving the stress tolerance of crop plants, we ectopically over-expressed the full-length CaXTH3 cDNA in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum cv. Dotaerang) and found that the 35S:CaXTH3 transgenic tomato plants exhibited a markedly increased tolerance to salt and drought stresses. Transgenic tomato plants exposed to a salt stress of 100 mM NaCl retained the chlorophyll in their leaves and showed normal root elongation. They also remained green and unwithered following exposure to 2 weeks of dehydration. A high proportion of stomatal closures in 35S:CaXTH3 was likely to be conferred by increased cell-wall remodeling activity of CaXTH3 in guard cell, which may reduce transpirational water loss in response to dehydration stress. Despite this increased stress tolerance, the transgenic tomato plants showed no detectable phenotype defects, such as abnormal morphology and growth retardation, under normal growth conditions. These results raise the possibility that CaXTH3 gene is appropriate for application in genetic engineering strategies aimed at improving abiotic stress tolerance in agriculturally and economically valuable crop plants.
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Acknowledgments This work was supported by a grant from the BioGreen21 program funded by the Rural Development Administration and by a grant from the Technology Development Program for Agriculture and Forestry (Project No. 309017-5 funded by the Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Republic of Korea), Republic of Korea.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science