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Plant Physiol. 2013 Mar;161(3):1158-71. doi: 10.1104/pp.112.211391. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Overexpression of the trehalase gene AtTRE1 leads to increased drought stress tolerance in Arabidopsis and is involved in abscisic acid-induced stomatal closure.

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1
Department of Molecular Microbiology, VIB, Leuven, Belgium.

Abstract

Introduction of microbial trehalose biosynthesis enzymes has been reported to enhance abiotic stress resistance in plants but also resulted in undesirable traits. Here, we present an approach for engineering drought stress tolerance by modifying the endogenous trehalase activity in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). AtTRE1 encodes the Arabidopsis trehalase, the only enzyme known in this species to specifically hydrolyze trehalose into glucose. AtTRE1-overexpressing and Attre1 mutant lines were constructed and tested for their performance in drought stress assays. AtTRE1-overexpressing plants had decreased trehalose levels and recovered better after drought stress, whereas Attre1 mutants had elevated trehalose contents and exhibited a drought-susceptible phenotype. Leaf detachment assays showed that Attre1 mutants lose water faster than wild-type plants, whereas AtTRE1-overexpressing plants have a better water-retaining capacity. In vitro studies revealed that abscisic acid-mediated closure of stomata is impaired in Attre1 lines, whereas the AtTRE1 overexpressors are more sensitive toward abscisic acid-dependent stomatal closure. This observation is further supported by the altered leaf temperatures seen in trehalase-modified plantlets during in vivo drought stress studies. Our results show that overexpression of plant trehalase improves drought stress tolerance in Arabidopsis and that trehalase plays a role in the regulation of stomatal closure in the plant drought stress response.

PMID:
23341362
PMCID:
PMC3585587
DOI:
10.1104/pp.112.211391
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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