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Crop Biotech Update

Vitreoscilla Gene Increases Waterlogging Tolerance in Arabidopsis and Maize

February 3, 2016

Vitreoscilla hemoglobin (VHb), found in the bacterium Vitreoscilla, has been shown to contribute anaerobic stress tolerance in multiple plant species. Researchers, led by Hewei Du of Yangtze University and Xiaomeng Shen of Huazhong Agricultural University, aimed to improve maize's (Zea mays L.) susceptibility to waterlogging with the introduction of an exogenous VHb gene.

The team overexpressed the VHb gene in Arabidopsis. After 14 days of waterlogging treatment, the transgenic VHb Arabidopsis plants remained green, while the control plants died. Under waterlogging, important growth traits of overexpressing plants were significantly improved compared to the controls.

The VHb gene was then introduced into a maize line. The introduction of VHb significantly enhanced plant growth under waterlogging stress. The VHb-containing lines exhibited higher tolerance to waterlogging than their control lines.

These results show that the exogenous VHb gene confers waterlogging tolerance to the transgenic maize line and could be a useful molecular tool for the improvement of waterlogging and submergence-tolerance.

For more information on the study, read the full article in BMC Plant Biology.