Biotech Updates

Overexpression of Cowpea NAC Genes Promotes Growth and Stress Tolerance in Arabidopsis

April 6, 2022

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati and Gifu University reported that overexpression of unique cowpea NAC genes enhanced growth and seed yield in Arabidopsis. Their study is published in Plant Science.

NAC proteins are one of the biggest groups of plant transcription factors (TFs) that are involved in diverse complex biological processes. ATAF-like NAC TFs have been found to control stress-signaling. However, overexpression of these TFs often leads to growth-retardation. To search for ways to harmonize regulation of stress and growth signaling, the researchers isolated VuNAC1 and VuNAC2 from a drought-hardy cowpea genotype and overexpressed them in Arabidopsis.

The transgenic lines exhibited tolerance to drought, salinity, and metal toxicity under favorable conditions and as well as under limited nutrition. Furthermore, it was found that VuNAC1/2 balances growth and stress tolerance by improving photosynthetic activity, stomatal density, and ABA-insensitivity, unlike their growth-inhibiting orthologs.

Based on the findings, VuNAC1/2 is a potential tool for improving stress tolerance and yield without compromising growth and development.

Read more findings in Plant Science.

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