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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44697. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044697. Epub 2012 Sep 11.

A novel stress-induced sugarcane gene confers tolerance to drought, salt and oxidative stress in transgenic tobacco plants.

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  • 1Laboratório de Genoma Funcional, Departamento de Genética, Evolução e Bioagentes, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, Brazil.



Drought is a major abiotic stress that affects crop productivity worldwide. Sugarcane can withstand periods of water scarcity during the final stage of culm maturation, during which sucrose accumulation occurs. Meanwhile, prolonged periods of drought can cause severe plant losses.


In a previous study, we evaluated the transcriptome of drought-stressed plants to better understand sugarcane responses to drought. Among the up-regulated genes was Scdr1 (sugarcane drought-responsive 1). The aim of the research reported here was to characterize this gene. Scdr1 encodes a putative protein containing 248 amino acids with a large number of proline (19%) and cysteine (13%) residues. Phylogenetic analysis showed that ScDR1is in a clade with homologs from other monocotyledonous plants, separate from those of dicotyledonous plants. The expression of Scdr1 in different varieties of sugarcane plants has not shown a clear association with drought tolerance.


The overexpression of Scdr1 in transgenic tobacco plants increased their tolerance to drought, salinity and oxidative stress, as demonstrated by increased photosynthesis, water content, biomass, germination rate, chlorophyll content and reduced accumulation of ROS. Physiological parameters, such as transpiration rate (E), net photosynthesis (A), stomatal conductance (gs) and internal leaf CO(2) concentration, were less affected by abiotic stresses in transgenic Scdr1 plants compared with wild-type plants. Overall, our results indicated that Scdr1 conferred tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses, highlighting the potential of this gene for biotechnological applications.

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