Crop Biotech Update

Rice MicroRNA Improves Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Creeping Bentgrass

July 11, 2018

MicroRNA393 (miR393) is known to be involved in plant growth, development, and multiple stress responses in annual plants such as Arabidopsis and rice. However, the role of miR393 in perennial grasses remains unexplored. Understanding the role of miR393 functions in a turf species such as the economically important creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) would allow genetic modification for improved abiotic stress tolerance.

The team of Junming Zhao from Clemson University in USA has developed a transgenic creeping bentgrass line overexpressing the rice Osa‐miR393a. The transgenic lines exhibited fewer, but longer tillers, and enhanced drought stress tolerance due to reduced stomata density and denser cuticles. It also displayed improved salt stress tolerance due to increased uptake of potassium and enhanced heat stress tolerance due to induced expression of small heat‐shock proteins.

The results revealed the distinctive roles of miR393 in plant development and stress responses in creeping bentgrass. miR393 would be a promising candidate for developing improved crop cultivars with enhanced multiple stress tolerance.

For more information, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.