Over-expression of an Arabidopsis δ-OAT gene enhances salt and drought tolerance in transgenic rice
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δ-OAT, ornithine-δ-aminotransferase, is the key enzyme involved in proline biosynthesis. In this study the Arabidopsis δ-OAT gene was transferred into rice (Oryza sativa L. ssp japonica cv. Zhongzuo 321), whose successful integration was demonstrated by PCR and Southern blot analysis. The over-expression of the gene in transgenic rice was also confirmed. Biochemical analysis showed that, under salt or drought stress conditions, proline contents in the leaves and roots in transgenic rice plants were 5- to 15-fold of those in non-transgenic controls. Under stress conditions, germinating rate of transgenic lines is higher than that of controls. Although the growth of rice plants tested were more and more retarded with the increasing of NaCl concentration, the transgenic plants grow faster compared to the controls under the same stress condition. Meanwhile, the resistance to KC1 and MgSO4 stresses was also found enhanced in transgenic rice. Furthermore, the over-expression of δ-OAT also improved the yield of transgenic plants under stress conditions. The average yield per plant of transgenic lines increases about 12%–41% more than that of control lines under 0.1 mol/L NaCl stress. These data indicated that the over-expression of δ-OAT, with the accumulation of proline, resulted in the enhancement of salt and drought tolerance and an increase of rice yield, which is of significance in agriculture.
Keywordsδ-OAT proline biolistics transgenic rice salt tolerance drought tolerance
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