Molecular Breeding

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 233–248 | Cite as

Increase of glycinebetaine synthesis improves drought tolerance in cotton

  • Sulian Lv
  • Aifang Yang
  • Kewei Zhang
  • Lei Wang
  • Juren Zhang


The tolerance to drought stress of the homozygous transgenic cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) plants with enhanced glycinebetaine (GB) accumulation was investigated at three development stages. Among the five transgenic lines investigated, lines 1, 3, 4, and 5 accumulated significantly higher levels of GB than the wild-type (WT) plants either before or after drought stress, and the transgenic plants were more tolerant to drought stress than the wild-type counterparts from young seedlings to flowering plants. Under drought stress conditions, transgenic lines 1, 3, 4, and 5 had higher relative water content, increased photosynthesis, better osmotic adjustment (OA), a lower percentage of ion leakage, and less lipid membrane peroxidation than WT plants. The GB levels in transgenic plants were positively correlated with drought tolerance under water stress. The results suggested that GB may not only protect the integrity of the cell membrane from drought stress damage, but also be involved in OA in transgenic cotton plants. Most importantly, the seedcotton yield of transgenic line 4 was significantly greater than that of WT plants after drought stress, which is of great value in cotton production.


Drought stress Glycinebetaine Transgenic cotton 



Betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase


Choline dehydrogenase


Choline monooxygenase






Osmotic adjustment




Reactive oxygen species


Relative water content


Superoxide dismutase





We are grateful to Dr. Yongbin Yan and Dr. Xuechun Luo (Tsinghua University) for their assistance with NMR and to Dr. Xiaoming Li (Shandong University) for providing apparatus for photosynthesis determination. This research was supported by the National High Technology Research and Development (863) Programme of China (No. 2002AA212071).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sulian Lv
    • 1
  • Aifang Yang
    • 1
  • Kewei Zhang
    • 1
  • Lei Wang
    • 1
  • Juren Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Life SciencesShandong UniversityJinanChina

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