Crop Biotech Update

Overexpression of Wheat Ferritin Gene Enhances Heat and Abiotic Stress Tolerance

January 25, 2017

The yield of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is greatly affected by heat stress. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying heat stress tolerance are relatively unknown. Xinshan Zang and Xiaoli Geng from China Agricultural University, together with their colleagues identified a novel ferritin gene, TaFER, from a previous study of a heat-tolerant wheat cultivar.

To study the function of TaFER-5B in wheat, TaFER-5B was transformed into the wheat cultivar Jimai5265 (JM5265), resulting in transgenic plants exhibiting enhanced tolerance to heat stress. The team also overexpressed TaFER-5B in a ferritin-lacking mutant of Arabidopsis. The transgene conferred increased heat tolerance to the heat stress-sensitive phenotype of the mutant Arabidopsis.

Furthermore, TaFER-5B-overexpression enhanced drought, oxidative and excess iron stress tolerance. The transgenic Arabidopsis and wheat plants also exhibited improved leaf iron content. These results imply that TaFER-5B plays an important role in enhancing tolerance to heat stress and other abiotic stresses.

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