Journal Article

Overexpression of Spermidine Synthase Enhances Tolerance to Multiple Environmental Stresses and Up-Regulates the Expression of Various Stress-Regulated Genes in Transgenic <i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i>

Yoshihisa Kasukabe, Lixiong He, Kazuyoshi Nada, Shuhei Misawa, Izumi Ihara and Shoji Tachibana

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 45, issue 6, pages 712-722
Published in print June 2004 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online June 2004 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pch083
Overexpression of Spermidine Synthase Enhances Tolerance to Multiple Environmental Stresses and Up-Regulates the Expression of Various Stress-Regulated Genes in Transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana

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Polyamines play pivotal roles in plant defense to environmental stresses. However, stress tolerance of genetically engineered plants for polyamine biosynthesis has been little examined so far. We cloned spermidine synthase cDNA from Cucurbita ficifolia and the gene was introduced to Arabidopsis thaliana under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. The transgene was stably integrated and actively transcribed in the transgenic plants. As compared with the wild-type plants, the T2 and T3 transgenic plants exhibited a significant increase in spermidine synthase activity and spermidine content in leaves together with enhanced tolerance to various stresses including chilling, freezing, salinity, hyperosmosis, drought, and paraquat toxicity. During exposure to chilling stress (5°C), the transgenics displayed a remarkable increase in arginine decarboxylase activity and conjugated spermidine contents in leaves compared to the wild type. A cDNA microarray analysis revealed that several genes were more abundantly transcribed in the transgenics than in the wild type under chilling stress. These genes included those for stress-responsive transcription factors such as DREB and stress-protective proteins like rd29A. These results strongly suggest an important role for spermidine as a signaling regulator in stress signaling pathways, leading to build-up of stress tolerance mechanisms in plants under stress conditions.

Keywords: Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana — Gene expression — Gene technology — Polyamine — Spermidine synthase — Stress tolerance.; Abbreviations: ADC, arginine decarboxylase; CaMV, cauliflower mosaic virus; DREB, dehydration responsive element-binding; Fv/Fm, maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII; ODC, ornithine decarboxylase; PPFD, photosynthetic photon flux density; Put, putrescine; Spd, spermidine; SPDS, spermidine synthase; Spm, spermine; ROS, reactive oxygen species; SAMDC, S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase; WT, wild type.

Journal Article.  7536 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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