Journal Article

Effect of overexpression of radish plasma membrane aquaporins on water-use efficiency, photosynthesis and growth of <i>Eucalyptus</i> trees

Ayako Tsuchihira, Yuko T. Hanba, Naoki Kato, Tomonori Doi, Tetsu Kawazu and Masayoshi Maeshima

in Tree Physiology

Volume 30, issue 3, pages 417-430
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/tpp127
Effect of overexpression of radish plasma membrane aquaporins on water-use efficiency, photosynthesis and growth of Eucalyptus trees

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Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees with more than 700 genotypic species which are mostly native to Australia. We selected 19 wild provenances of Eucalyptus camaldulensis grown in Australia, compared their growth rate and drought tolerance and determined the protein levels of plasma membrane aquaporins (PIPs). There was a positive relationship between the drought tolerance and PIP content. PIPs are divided into two subgroups, PIP1 and PIP2. Most members of the PIP2 subgroup, but not PIP1 subgroup, exhibit water channel activity. We introduced two radish (Raphanus sativus L.) PIPs, RsPIP1;1 and RsPIP2;1, into a hybrid clone of Eucalyptus grandis and Eucalyptus urophylla to examine the effect of their overexpression. Expression of these genes was confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the protein accumulation of RsPIP2;1 by immunoblotting. Drought tolerance was not enhanced in transgenic lines of either gene. However, one transgenic line expressing RsPIP2;1 showed high photosynthesis activity and growth rate under normal growth conditions. For RsPIP1;1-transformed lines, the RsPIP1;1 protein did not accumulate, and the abundance of endogenous PIP1 and PIP2 was decreased. The endogenous PIP1 and PIP2 genes were suppressed in these lines. Therefore, the decreased levels of PIP1 and PIP2 protein may be due to co-suppression of the PIP genes and/or high turnover of PIP proteins. RsPIP1;1-expressing lines gave low values of photosynthesis and growth compared with the control. These results suggest that down-regulation of PIP1 and PIP2 causes serious damage and that up-regulation of PIP2 improves the photosynthetic activity and growth of Eucalyptus trees.

Keywords: carbon dioxide; leaf; PIP

Journal Article.  8193 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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