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Crop Biotech Update

Over-expression of Plasma Membrane Protein Gene Enhances Cold-resistance in Tobacco

July 29, 2011

The plasma membrane is the one of the first structures affected when plants are exposed to low temperatures. To improve low temperature-resistance in plants, Dong-Ru Feng and colleagues at the Sun Yat-sen University in China conducted a study using a cloned cold-induced gene (MpRCI) from plantain.

They used green fluorescent protein fused with MpRCI and traced that the protein product is localized in the plasma membrane. Through real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), the profile of the gene was analyzed. It was found out that the gene is induced by low temperatures in leaves and leafstalk, but not in the shoot meristem or roots. They also cloned a section of the gene that they predicted to have a number of elements connected with abiotic stresses. Results showed that the sequence has characteristic of low temperature- and abscisic acid influenced activity.

Phenotypic espial and ion leakage assays of transgenic tobacco containing the gene resulted to over-expression of the cold-induced plasma membrane protein gene MpRCI, improving the cold-resistance of the plants.

The findings imply that MpRCI is involved in maintaining the stability of the plasma membrane at low temperatures.

Read the research article featured at the special issue on Temperate Responses in Plants at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0098847208001676.