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Crop Biotech Update

Positive Regulator of Cold Tolerance in Banana Found

March 24, 2021

A study conducted by Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China, and partners sheds light on developing cold-tolerant bananas.

Banana is a tropical fruit that is economically important globally. One of the factors that affect its production is cold stress. Thus, researchers from China investigated the functions of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in bananas. MAPK has been shown to be involved in cold tolerance of other plant species, however, with varied regulatory mechanisms.

To study cold tolerance in bananas, the researchers silenced MaMAPK3 on Dajiao bananas. The transgenic plants wilted and exhibited extreme necrosis, while the wild-type plants remained normal after exposure to cold temperatures. Silencing MaMAPK3 altered the expression of cold-responsive genes. MaICE1 was found to interact with MaMAPK3, and the expression level of MaICE1 was significantly decreased in the transgenic plants. When MaICE1 was overexpressed in Cavendish banana, it was shown that the cold resistance of transgenic plants was more improved than in WT plants. The POD P7 gene was significantly up-regulated in MaICE1-overexpressing transgenic plants compared with wild-type plants, and the POD P7 was proved to interact with MaICE1.

The results confirm that the MaMAPK3-MaICE1-MaPOD P7 pathway could positively impact cold tolerance in bananas.

Read more findings in BMC Plant Biology.

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