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Crop Biotech Update

Cyanobacterial Flavodoxin Induces Stress Tolerance in Medicago truncatula

December 3, 2010

Flavodoxin produced by cyanobacteria is absent in plants. Based on previous studies, flavodoxin can counter the toxic effects of reactive oxygen species which are produced during plant's exposure to salt stress. Thus, scientists have been using cyanobacterial flavodoxin to increase the tolerance of plants to various environmental stresses.

Teodoro Coba de la Peña and colleagues at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Spain, introduced the flavodoxin gene to Medicago truncatula, a legume, to determine if flavodoxin expression induces tolerance to salt stress by preserving legume nitrogen fixation under saline conditions. Results showed that flavodoxin induced small yet significant changes in the nodule oxidation-reduction balance which could be attributed to the positive effect on nitrogen fixation. Therefore, flavodoxin can possibly be used in enhancing the symbiotic performance under salt stress and probably other environmental stresses.

For more information, read the December issue of the Plant Biotechnology Journal at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-7652.2010.00519.x/full.