Biotech Updates

HaWRKY76 from Sunflower Confers Water Stress Tolerance and Increased Yield in Arabidopsis

August 12, 2015

Water deficit and water excess are abiotic stresses that seriously affect crops and increasing the tolerance to such stresses without yield penalty is a major goal for researchers. A team of researchers from Universidad Nacional del Litoral in Argentina recently found that HaWRKY76, a sunflower transcription factor, is able to confer both dehydration and submergence tolerance to Arabidopsis transgenic plants without yield penalty.

The transgenic Arabidopsis plants presented higher biomass, seed production and sucrose content than controls in standard growth conditions. Moreover, they exhibited tolerance to mild drought or flood stresses and also had the same or increased yield, depending on the stress severity and plant developmental stage, compared with controls.

Drought tolerance occurred via an ABA-independent mechanism and induction of stomatal closure. Submergence tolerance can be explained by the carbohydrate preservation achieved through the repression of fermentation pathways. The obtained results indicate that HaWRKY76 can be a potential tool in improving crop yield as well as drought and flood tolerance traits.

For more information, read the article on Plant Cell Reports.