CSP41b, a protein identified via FOX hunting using Eutrema salsugineum cDNAs, improves heat and salinity stress tolerance in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana

Hirotaka Ariga, Tomoko Tanaka, Hirokazu Ono, Yoichi Sakata, Takahisa Hayashi, Teruaki Taji
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2015 August 14, 464 (1): 318-23
Eutrema salsugineum (also known as Thellungiella salsuginea and formerly Thellungiella halophila), a species closely related to Arabidopsis thaliana, shows tolerance not only to salt stress, but also to chilling, freezing, and high temperatures. To identify genes responsible for stress tolerance, we conducted Full-length cDNA Over-eXpressing gene (FOX) hunting among a collection of E. salsugineum cDNAs that were stress-induced according to gene ontology analysis or over-expressed in E. salsugineum compared with A. thaliana. We identified E. salsugineum CSP41b (chloroplast stem-loop-binding protein of 41 kDa; also known as CRB, chloroplast RNA binding; named here as EsCSP41b) as a gene that can confer heat and salinity stress tolerance on A. thaliana. A. thaliana CSP41b is reported to play an important role in the proper functioning of the chloroplast: the atcsp41b mutant is smaller and paler than wild-type plants and shows altered chloroplast morphology and photosynthetic performance. We observed that AtCSP41b-overexpressing transgenic A. thaliana lines also exhibited marked heat tolerance and significant salinity stress tolerance. The EsCSP41b-overexpressing transgenic A. thaliana lines showed significantly higher photosynthesis activity than wild-type plants not only under normal growth conditions but also under heat stress. In wild-type plants, the expression levels of both EsCSP41b and AtCSP41b were significantly reduced under heat or salinity stress. We conclude that maintenance of CSP41b expression under abiotic stresses may alleviate photoinhibition and improve survival under such stresses.

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