Crop Biotech Update

Overexpression of Maize Gene Enhances Salt and Drought Tolerance in Transgenic Tobacco

February 27, 2019

Sumoylation, a post-translational modification process involving small ubiquitin-like modifiers (SUMOs), play a vital part in higher plants' responses to stress. However, the mechanisms underlying the involvement of Sumoylation in stress responses are yet to be explored. Scientists from Henan Agricultural University in China conducted a study to investigate the effect of SUMO conjugating enzyme gene in salt and drought tolerance. The results are published in Plant Science.

The researchers isolated and analyzed a putative SUMO conjugating enzyme ortholog from maize (ZmSCE1e). Analyses showed that ZmSCE1e contains a central active domain similar to known SCE1 proteins, but is the cereal-specific isoform. They also over-expressed ZmSCE1e in tobacco plants, which led to increased levels of SUMO conjugates and improved their tolerances to salt and drought stresses. Amplification techniques showed that stress defense genes were significantly boosted in the ZmSCE1e-transgenic plants.

The results may contribute in accelerating genetic improvement of crop plants with tolerance to environmental stresses.

Read the research article in Plant Science.