Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 221–241 | Cite as

An apple transcription factor, MdDREB76, confers salt and drought tolerance in transgenic tobacco by activating the expression of stress-responsive genes

  • Vishal Sharma
  • Parul Goel
  • Sanjay Kumar
  • Anil Kumar SinghEmail author
Original Article


Key message

An apple gene, MdDREB76 encodes a functional transcription factor and imparts salinity and drought stress endurance to transgenic tobacco by activating expression of stress-responsive genes.


The dehydration-responsive element (DRE)-binding protein (DREB) transcription factors are well known to be involved in regulating abiotic stress-mediated gene expression in plants. In this study, MdDREB76 gene was isolated from apple (Malus x domestica), which encodes a functional transcription factor protein. Overexpression of MdDREB76 in tobacco conferred salt and drought stress tolerance to transgenic lines by inducing antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase and catalase. The higher membrane stability index, relative water content, proline, total soluble sugar content and lesser H2O2content, electrolyte leakage and lipid peroxidation in transgenics support the improved physiological status of transgenic plants as compared to WT plants under salinity and drought stresses. The MdDREB76 overexpression upregulated the expression of stress-responsive genes that provide salinity and drought stress endurance to the plants. Compared to WT plants, transgenic lines exhibited healthy growth and higher yield under stress conditions. The present study reports MdDREB76 as a key regulator that switches on the battery of downstream genes which impart salt and osmotic stress endurance to the transgenic plants and can be used for genetic engineering of crop plants to combat salinity and drought stresses.


Abiotic stress DREB transcription factor Malus domestica Transgenic plants Salinity tolerance Drought tolerance. 



This work was financially supported by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, India under CSIR Network Project PlaGen (BSC0107). VS and PG acknowledges Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi for providing Junior and Senior Research Fellowship, respectively.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict interests.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyCSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource TechnologyPalampurIndia
  2. 2.Academy of Scientific and Innovative ResearchNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.ICAR-Indian Institute of Agricultural BiotechnologyRanchiIndia

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