Biotech Updates

Transcription Factor ERF109 Improves Salt Tolerance in Arabidopsis

October 12, 2016

Researchers, led by Ahmed Bahieldin from the King Abdulaziz University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, aimed to study the role of transcription factors (TFs) expressed by genes related to programmed cell death (PCD) during salt stress. The team focused on the superfamily of ethylene responsive factor (AP2/ERF) since it is involved in the response to biotic and abiotic stimuli as well as to programmed cell death (PCD).

Tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) leaves were exposed to oxalic acid to induce PCD. Genes that were upregulated after two hours of treatment and known to be involved in PCD were used to select TFs. Knockdown mutants of these TFs were then generated via virus induced gene silencing (VIGS) in tobacco to know their roles during PCD.

Two TFs, namely ERF109 and TFIID5, were identified and were tested in Arabidopsis. Analysis of the knockout and overexpressing lines showed that ERF109 expression confers salt tolerance as well as inhibits PCD in plants.

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