MusaDHN-1, a novel multiple stress-inducible SK(3)-type dehydrin gene, contributes affirmatively to drought- and salt-stress tolerance in banana

Upendra K Singh Shekhawat, Lingam Srinivas, Thumballi R Ganapathi
Planta 2011, 234 (5): 915-32
Dehydrins are highly hydrophilic proteins involved in playing key adaptive roles in response to abiotic stress conditions having dehydration as a common component. In the present study, a novel banana SK(3)-type dehydrin, MusaDHN-1, was identified and later characterized using transgenic banana plants to investigate its functions in abiotic stress tolerance. Expression profiling in native banana plants demonstrated that MusaDHN-1 was induced in leaves by drought, salinity, cold, oxidative and heavy metal stress as well as by treatment with signalling molecules like abscisic acid, ethylene and methyl jasmonate. Promoter analysis carried out by making a MusaDHN-1 promoter: β-glucuronidase fusion construct reconfirmed the abiotic stress inducibility of MusaDHN-1. Transgenic banana plants constitutively overexpressing MusaDHN-1 were phenotypically normal and displayed improved tolerance to drought and salt-stress treatments in both in vitro and ex vitro assays. Enhanced accumulation of proline and reduced malondialdehyde levels in drought and salt-stressed MusaDHN-1 overexpressing plants further established their superior performance in stressed conditions. This study is the first to report generation of transgenic banana plants engineered for improved drought and salt-stress tolerance.

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