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An aquaporin gene from halophyte Sesuvium portulacastrum, SpAQP1, increases salt tolerance in transgenic tobacco

Chang, Wenjun, Liu, Xiwen, Zhu, Jiahong, Fan, Wei, Zhang, Zhili
Plant cell reports 2016 v.35 no.2 pp. 385-395
Sesuvium portulacastrum, abscisic acid, amino acid sequences, antioxidant activity, aquaporins, catalase, cold, drought, enzyme activity, genes, halophytes, leaves, peroxidase, phylogeny, plant response, plasma membrane, root growth, roots, salt stress, salt tolerance, seed germination, sodium chloride, stems, superoxide dismutase, tobacco, transgenic plants, yeasts
KEY MESSAGE : SpAQP1 was strongly induced by salt in an ABA-independent way, promoted seed germination and root growth in transgenic tobaccos and increased salt tolerance by increasing the activities of antioxidative enzymes. Aquaporin (AQP) plays crucial roles in the responses of plant to abiotic stresses such as drought, salt and cold. Compared to glycophytes, halophytes often have excellent salt and drought tolerances. To uncover the molecular mechanism of halophyte Sesuvium portulacastrum tolerance to salt, in this study, an AQP gene, SpAQP1, from S. portulacastrum was isolated and characterized. The amino acid sequence of SpAQP1 shared high homology with that of plant plasma membrane intrinsic proteins (PIPs) and contained the distinct molecular features of PIPs. In the phylogenic tree, SpAQP1 was evidently classified as the PIP2 subfamily. SpAQP1 is expressed in roots, stems and leaves, and was significantly induced by NaCl treatment and inhibited by abscisic acid (ABA) treatment. When heterologously expressed in yeast and tobacco, SpAQP1 enhanced the salt tolerance of yeast strains and tobacco plants and promoted seed germination and root growth under salt stress in transgenic plants. The activity of antioxidative enzymes including superoxide dismutase, peroxidase and catalase was increased in transgenic plants overexpressing SpAQP1. Taken together, our studies suggested that SpAQP1 functioned in the responses of S. portulacastrum to salt stress and could increase salt tolerance by enhancing the antioxidative activity of plants.