Constitutive overexpression of rice metallothionein-like gene OsMT-3a enhances growth and tolerance of Arabidopsis plants to a combination of various abiotic stresses
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Mekawy, Ahmad Mohammad M.
Assaha, Dekoum V. M.
Metallothioneins (MT) are primarily involved in metal chelation. Recent studies have shown that MT proteins are also involved in the responses of plants to various environmental stresses. The rice metallothionein-like gene OsMT-3a is upregulated by salinity and various abiotic stressors. A DNA construct containing the complete OsMT-3a coding sequence cloned downstream to the CaMV35S promoter was transformed into Arabidopsis and homozygous single-copy transgenic lines were produced. Compared to wild-type plants, transgenic plants showed substantially increased salinity tolerance (NaCl), drought tolerance (PEG), and heavy metal tolerance (CdCl2) as individual stresses, as well as different combinations of these stresses. Relevantly, under unstressed control conditions, vegetative growth of transgenic plants was also improved. The shoot Na+ concentration and hydrogen peroxide in transgenic plants were lower than those in wild-type plants. OsMT-3a-overexpressing Arabidopsis lines accumulated higher levels of Cd2+ in both shoots and roots following CdCl2 treatment. In the transgenic MT-3a lines, increased activity of two major antioxidant enzymes, catalase and ascorbate peroxidase, was observed. Thus, rice OsMT-3a is a valuable target gene for plant genetic improvement against multiple abiotic stresses.
This research was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 25850041, 15KK0283, 16K07643 to AU and Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Egypt to AMMM.
Journal of Plant Research
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This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Plant Research. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-020-01187-y
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Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life