Application of the Tolerance to Extreme Environment to Land Plants
The ability of the primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae to survive in acidic environments at high temperatures was applied to produce acid- and heat-tolerant transgenic plants. The C. merolae gene encoding a plasma membrane H+-ATPase was introduced into Arabidopsis thaliana, and the acid tolerance of the resulting transgenic plants was investigated. The transgenic seedlings were more acid-tolerant than the wild-type seedlings following a transient acid treatment. We also observed that the roots of transgenic plants grew longer than the wild-type roots. These results suggest that the C. merolae H+-ATPase may reinforce the acid tolerance of higher plants by enhancing proton pump activities. Furthermore, we produced transgenic A. thaliana plants overexpressing the C. merolae gene encoding the stromal ascorbate peroxidase (CmstAPX). Soluble APX activities were higher in CmstAPX-expressing plants than in the wild-type plants. Compared with the wild-type, the CmstAPX-expressing plants were more tolerant to high-temperature stress and oxidative stress induced by methyl viologen. Additionally, the CmstAPX-expressing plants retained the highest chlorophyll contents after treatments with methyl viologen and high temperatures. Furthermore, the stroma and chloroplasts of the CmstAPX-expressing plants remained intact, whereas they disintegrated in the wild-type controls. These findings imply that the increased APX activity in the chloroplasts of CmstAPX-expressing plants enhances heat tolerance by increasing reactive oxygen species-scavenging capabilities at high temperatures.
KeywordsPlasma membrane H + -ATPase Acid tolerance Stromal ascorbate peroxidase Heat tolerance Reactive oxygen species Arabidopsis thaliana Cyanidioschyzon merolae
We thank Dr. Haruko Kuroiwa for kindly teaching microscopy experiments. Our study was partly supported by the Frontier Project “Adaptation and Evolution of Extremophile” (to T.K.) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan and the Program for the Promotion of Basic Research Activities for Innovative Biosciences (PROBRAIN) (to T.K.) and by the Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology Program of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (T.K and O.M.).
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