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Transgenic Res. 2008 Feb;17(1):93-104. Epub 2007 Apr 6.

Stress inducible expression of the DREB1A transcription factor from xeric, Hordeum spontaneum L. in turf and forage grass (Paspalum notatum Flugge) enhances abiotic stress tolerance.

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Agronomy Department, Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, Genetics Institute, University of Florida, PO Box 110300, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


The dehydration-responsive element binding proteins (DREB1)/C-repeat (CRT) binding factors (CBF) function as transcription activators and bind to the DRE/CRT cis-acting element commonly present in the promoters of abiotic stress-regulated genes. A DREB1A transcription factor ortholog was isolated from a xeric, wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum L.) accession, originating from the Negev desert. Sequence comparison revealed a very high degree of sequence conservation of HsDREB1A to the published barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) DREB1A. Constitutive expression of the HsDREB1A gene was able to trans-activate a reporter gene under transcriptional control of the stress-inducible HVA1s and Dhn8 promoters. HsDREB1A was subcloned under transcriptional control of the stress-inducible barley HVA1s promoter and introduced into the apomictic bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge) cultivar 'Argentine'. HsDREB1A integration and stress inducible expression was detected in primary transgenic bahiagrass plants and apomictic seed progeny by Southern blot, RT-PCR and northern blot analysis respectively. Transgenic bahiagrass plants with stress-inducible expression of HsDREB1A survived severe salt stress and repeated cycles of severe dehydration stress under controlled environment conditions, in contrast to non-transgenic plants. The observed abiotic stress tolerance is very desirable in turf and forage grasses like bahiagrass, where seasonal droughts and irrigation restrictions affect establishment, persistence or productivity of this perennial crop.

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