Ectopic expression of dehydration responsive element binding proteins (StDREB2) confers higher tolerance to salt stress in potato

Donia Bouaziz, Julien Pirrello, Hela Ben Amor, Asma Hammami, Mariam Charfeddine, Amina Dhieb, Mondher Bouzayen, Radhia Gargouri-Bouzid
Plant Physiology and Biochemistry: PPB 2012, 60: 98-108
Dehydration responsive element binding proteins (DREB) are members of a larger family of transcription factors, many of which have been reported to contribute to plant responses to abiotic stresses in several species. While, little is known about their role in potato (Solanum tuberosum). This report describes the cloning and characterization of a DREB transcription factor cDNA, StDREB2, isolated from potato (cv Nicola) plants submitted to salt treatment. Based on a multiple sequence alignment, this protein was classified into the A-5 group of DREB subfamily. Expression studies revealed that StDREB2 was induced in leaves, roots and stems upon various abiotic stresses and in response to exogenous treatment with abscisic acid (ABA). In agreement with this expression pattern, over-expression of StDREB2 in transgenic potato plants resulted in enhanced tolerance to salt stress. These data suggest that the isolated StDREB2 encodes a functional protein involved in plant response to different abiotic stresses. An electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) indicated that the StDREB2 protein bound specifically to the DRE core element (ACCGAGA) in vitro. Moreover, Semi quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed that the transcript level of a putative target gene i.e. δ(1)-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthase (P5CS) was up-regulated in transgenic plants submitted to salt stress conditions. A concomitant increase in proline accumulation was also observed under these conditions. Taking together, all these data suggest that StDREB2 takes part in the processes underlying plant responses to abiotic stresses probably via the regulation of ABA hormone signaling and through a mechanism allowing proline synthesis.

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