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Mol Biotechnol. 2018 Mar;60(3):203-214. doi: 10.1007/s12033-018-0063-x.

Xerophyta viscosa Aldose Reductase, XvAld1, Enhances Drought Tolerance in Transgenic Sweetpotato.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Pwani University, P.O Box 195-80108, Kilifi, Kenya.
Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.
Department of Plant Sciences, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.
Department of Plant Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.


Sweetpotato is a significant crop which is widely cultivated particularly in the developing countries with high and stable yield. However, drought stress is a major limiting factor that antagonistically influences the crop's productivity. Dehydration stress caused by drought causes aggregation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in plants, and aldose reductases are first-line safeguards against ROS caused by oxidative stress. In the present study, we generated transgenic sweetpotato plants expressing aldose reductase, XvAld1 isolated from Xerophyta viscosa under the control of a stress-inducible promoter via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Our results demonstrated that the transgenic sweetpotato lines displayed significant enhanced tolerance to simulated drought stress and enhanced recuperation after rehydration contrasted with wild-type plants. In addition, the transgenic plants exhibited improved photosynthetic efficiency, higher water content and more proline accumulation under dehydration stress conditions compared with wild-type plants. These results demonstrate that exploiting the XvAld1 gene is not only a compelling and attainable way to improve sweetpotato tolerance to drought stresses without causing any phenotypic imperfections but also a promising gene candidate for more extensive crop improvement.


Drought stress; Genetic transformation; Ipomoea batatas; Reactive oxygen species; Sweetpotato; Xerophyta viscosa

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