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Three stress‐responsive NAC transcription factors from Populus euphratica differentially regulate salt and drought tolerance in transgenic plants

Lu, Xin, Zhang, Xiaofei, Duan, Hui, Lian, Conglong, Liu, Chao, Yin, Weilun, Xia, Xinli
Physiologia plantarum 2018 v.162 no.1 pp. 73-97
Arabidopsis, Populus euphratica, drought, drought tolerance, functional properties, gene overexpression, genes, genetic engineering, grasses, mutants, photosynthesis, roots, salinity, salt stress, salt tolerance, stems, stomatal conductance, stress tolerance, transcription (genetics), transcription factors, transcriptional activation, transgenic plants, trees
Stress‐responsive NAM, Arabidopsis transcription activation factor 1/2 (ATAF1/2) and CUC2 (SNAC) genes are being used to alter stress tolerance in Arabidopsis or grasses through genetic engineering. However, limited reports are available about the functional characteristics of SNAC in trees. In this study, three putative NAC proteins were identified from Populus euphratica. PeNAC034 and PeNAC045 were classified into the ATAF subgroup and PeNAC036 into the ANAC072 subgroup. These three SNAC transcription factors were localized in the nucleus and contained the transcription activation domain in their C‐terminal. Under drought and salt stresses, PeNAC036 was strongly induced in the whole plant, but PeNAC034 was significantly suppressed in the roots and stems, and PeNAC045 was inhibited in the roots. PeNAC036 overexpression in Arabidopsis wild‐type (WT) (OEPeNAC036) and PeNAC036 complementation in mutant anac072 (anac072/PeNAC036) lines increased tolerance to salt and drought, whereas PeNAC034 overexpression in WT (OEPeNAC034) and PeNAC034 complementation in mutant ataf1 (ataf1/PeNAC034) lines enhanced salt and drought sensitivity. After drought and salt treatments, the expression levels of COR47, RD29B, ERD11, RD22 and DREB2A were upregulated in OEPeNAC036 and anac072/PeNAC036 lines, but were downregulated in OEPeNAC034 and ataf1/PeNAC034 plants. Compared with WT and Vector lines, PeNAC045 overexpression in poplar WT (OEPeNAC045) led to a significant decrease in the net photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate under salinity and drought conditions. These results suggest that P. euphratica can adapt to the environment of high salinity and drought, which may be related to the differential expression patterns of SNAC genes.