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Crop Biotech Update

CRISPR-Cas9-Mediated Mutagenesis of SlMAPK3 Reduces Drought Tolerance in Tomato

September 13, 2017

Drought stress is one of the most destructive environmental factors that affect tomato plants. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are important signaling molecules that respond to drought stress in plants. Liu Wang from the American Chemical Society studied the gene SlMAPK3, which is induced by drought stress. The team also used the CRISPR-Cas9 system to generate loss-of-function slmapk3 mutants.

Two independent T1 lines and wild type tomato plants were used to analyze drought tolerance. Compared with WT plants, slmapk3 mutants exhibited severe wilting, higher hydrogen peroxide content, lower antioxidant enzymes activities, and suffered more membrane damage under drought stress. Furthermore, knockout of SlMAPK3 affected the expressions of drought stress-responsive genes.

These results suggest that SlMAPK3 is involved in drought response in tomato plants by protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage and modulating transcription of stress-related genes.

For more on this study, read the article in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.