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Plant Signal Behav. 2012 Apr;7(4):502-9. doi: 10.4161/psb.19646. Epub 2012 Apr 1.

Overexpression of Rab16A gene in indica rice variety for generating enhanced salt tolerance.

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Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Botany, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India.


We report here the overexpression of Rab16A full length gene (promoter + ORF), from the salt-tolerant indica rice Pokkali, in the salt-susceptible indica rice variety Khitish, via particle bombardment. Molecular analysis of the transgenics revealed stable integration of the transgene upto T2 generation. High level of expression of the transgene (driven by its own stress-inducible promoter), as well as the protein, was detectable in the leaves under simulated salinity stress (250 mM NaCl, 24 h); the expression level being higher than wild type (WT) plants. The Rab16A transcript also increased gradually with seed maturity, with its maximal accumulation at 30 d after pollination (DAP) i.e., fully matured seeds, explaining the protective role of Rab16A gene during seed maturation. Enhanced tolerance to salinity was observed in the plants transformed with Rab16A. The superior physiological performances of the transgenics under salt treatment were also reflected in lesser shoot or root length inhibition, reduced chlorophyll damages, lesser accumulation of Na(+) and reduced loss of K(+), increased proline content as compared with the WT plants. All these results indicated that the overproduction of RAB16A protein in the transgenics enable them to display enhanced tolerance to salinity stress with improved physiological traits. Our work demonstrates the profound potential of Group 2 LEA proteins (to which RAB16A belongs to) in conferring stress tolerance in crop plants through their genetic manipulation.

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