Crop Biotech Update

Overexpression of Wheat Gene TaOEP16-2-5B Enhances Heat and Drought Tolerance in Arabidopsis

February 22, 2017

Abiotic stresses, such as heat and drought, are major factors affecting crop productivity. In a previous study, a plastid outer envelope protein gene from wheat (Triticum aestivum), TaOEP16-2, was identified. Xinshan Zang and a team of researchers from China Agricultural University aimed to isolate and characterize the TaOEP16-2 gene.

Three sequences of TaOEP16-2 were isolated from hexaploid wheat, localized on chromosomes 5A, 5B and 5D. These homoeologues exhibited different expression patterns under heat stress conditions. TaOEP16-2-5B was the dominant one, and was selected for further analysis.

TaOEP16-2 was found to be involved in plant responses to drought stress. TaOEP16-2-5B has the same function in ABA-controlled seed germination as AtOEP16-2. Compared with wild type plants, transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing the TaOEP16-2-5B gene exhibited enhanced tolerance to heat stress, as proven by improved survival rate, strengthened cell membrane stability, and increased sucrose content.

These results suggest that TaOEP16-2-5B could be utilized in transgenic breeding of wheat and other crops.

For more information, read the article in Plant Science.