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Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(8):10154-75. doi: 10.3390/ijms130810154. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

The Opuntia streptacantha OpsHSP18 gene confers salt and osmotic stress tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Division of Molecular Biology, Institute Potosino of Scientific and Technological Research, Camino a la Presa de San José 2055, P.O.B. 3-74, C.P. 78216, Tangamanga, San Luis Potosí, SLP, Mexico; E-Mail:


Abiotic stress limits seed germination, plant growth, flowering and fruit quality, causing economic decrease. Small Heat Shock Proteins (sHSPs) are chaperons with roles in stress tolerance. Herein, we report the functional characterization of a cytosolic class CI sHSP (OpsHSP18) from Opuntia streptacantha during seed germination in Arabidopsis thaliana transgenic lines subjected to different stress and hormone treatments. The over-expression of the OpsHSP18 gene in A. thaliana increased the seed germination rate under salt (NaCl) and osmotic (glucose and mannitol) stress, and in ABA treatments, compared with WT. On the other hand, the over-expression of the OpsHSP18 gene enhanced tolerance to salt (150 mM NaCl) and osmotic (274 mM mannitol) stress in Arabidopsis seedlings treated during 14 and 21 days, respectively. These plants showed increased survival rates (52.00 and 73.33%, respectively) with respect to the WT (18.75 and 53.75%, respectively). Thus, our results show that OpsHSP18 gene might have an important role in abiotic stress tolerance, in particular in seed germination and survival rate of Arabidopsis plants under unfavorable conditions.


Arabidopsis thaliana; Opuntia streptacantha; abiotic stress; abscisic acid; germination; small heat shock protein

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