Overexpression of a plasma membrane Na+/H+ antiporter gene improves salt tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana

Huazhong Shi, Byeong-ha Lee, Shaw-Jye Wu, Jian-Kang Zhu
Nature Biotechnology 2003, 21 (1): 81-5
High concentrations of Na+ in saline soils inhibit plant growth and reduce agricultural productivity. We report here that CaMV 35S promoter driven overexpression of the Arabidopsis thaliana SOS1 gene, which encodes a plasma membrane Na+/H+ antiporter, improves plant salt tolerance in A. thaliana. Transgenic plants showed substantial upregulation of SOS1 transcript levels upon NaCl treatment, suggesting post-transcriptional control of SOS1 transcript accumulation. In response to NaCl treatment, transgenic plants overexpressing SOS1 accumulated less Na+ in the xylem transpirational stream and in the shoot. Undifferentiated callus cultures regenerated from the transgenic plants were also more tolerant of salt stress, which was correlated with reduced Na+ content in the transgenic cells. These results show that improved salt tolerance could be achieved by limiting Na+ accumulation in plant cells.

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