Overexpression of Thellungiella halophila H(+)-PPase (TsVP) in cotton enhances drought stress resistance of plants

Su-Lian Lv, Li-Jun Lian, Pei-Lin Tao, Zhao-Xia Li, Ke-Wei Zhang, Ju-Ren Zhang
Planta 2009, 229 (4): 899-910
An H(+)-PPase gene, TsVP from Thellungiella halophila, was transferred into two cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) varieties (Lumianyan19 and Lumianyan 21) and southern and northern blotting analysis showed the foreign gene was integrated into the cotton genome and expressed. The measurement of isolated vacuolar membrane vesicles demonstrated that the transgenic plants had higher V-H(+)-PPase activity compared with wild-type plants (WT). Overexpressing TsVP in cotton improved shoot and root growth, and transgenic plants were much more resistant to osmotic/drought stress than the WT. Under drought stress conditions, transgenic plants had higher chlorophyll content, improved photosynthesis, higher relative water content of leaves and less cell membrane damage than WT. We ascribe these properties to improved root development and the lower solute potential resulting from higher solute content such as soluble sugars and free amino acids in the transgenic plants. In this study, the average seed cotton yields of transgenic plants from Lumianyan 19 and Lumianyan 21 were significantly increased compared with those of WT after exposing to drought stress for 21 days at flowering stage. The average seed cotton yields were 51 and 40% higher than in their WT counterparts, respectively. This study benefits efforts to improve cotton yields in arid and semiarid regions.

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