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Nat Plants. 2019 Feb;5(2):153-159. doi: 10.1038/s41477-019-0361-8. Epub 2019 Feb 8.

Tuning water-use efficiency and drought tolerance in wheat using abscisic acid receptors.

Author information

1
Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Tottori, Japan.
2
NARO Institute of Crop Science, Tsukuba, Japan.
3
Gene Discovery Research Group, RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, Tsukuba, Japan.
4
Environmental Metabolic Analysis Research Team, RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, Yokohama, Japan.
5
NODAI Genome Research Center, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo, Japan.
6
Department of Embryology, Nara Medical University, Nara, Japan.
7
Department of Bioscience, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo, Japan.
8
Frontier Research Academy for Young Researchers, Kyushu Institute of Technology, Kitakyushu, Japan.
9
Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, Institute of Integrative Genome Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA, USA.
10
Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Tottori, Japan. okamo@cc.utsunomiya-u.ac.jp.
11
Center for Bioscience Research and Education, Utsunomiya University, Utsunomiya, Japan. okamo@cc.utsunomiya-u.ac.jp.
12
PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Kawaguchi, Japan. okamo@cc.utsunomiya-u.ac.jp.

Abstract

Water availability is a key determinant of terrestrial plant productivity. Many climate models predict that water stress will increasingly challenge agricultural yields and exacerbate projected food deficits. To ensure food security and increase agricultural efficiency, crop water productivity must be increased. Research over past decades has established that the phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) is a central regulator of water use and directly regulates stomatal opening and transpiration. In this study, we investigated whether the water productivity of wheat could be improved by increasing its ABA sensitivity. We show that overexpression of a wheat ABA receptor increases wheat ABA sensitivity, which significantly lowers a plant's lifetime water consumption. Physiological analyses demonstrated that this water-saving trait is a consequence of reduced transpiration and a concomitant increase in photosynthetic activity, which together boost grain production per litre of water and protect productivity during water deficit. Our findings provide a general strategy for increasing water productivity that should be applicable to other crops because of the high conservation of the ABA signalling pathway.

PMID:
30737511
DOI:
10.1038/s41477-019-0361-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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