Expression of an Arabidopsis vacuolar sodium/proton antiporter gene in cotton improves photosynthetic performance under salt conditions and increases fiber yield in the field

Cixin He, Juqiang Yan, Guoxin Shen, Lianhai Fu, A. Scott Holaday, Dick Auld, Eduardo Blumwald, Hong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

163 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drought and salinity are two major limiting factors in crop productivity. One way to reduce crop loss caused by drought and salinity is to increase the solute concentration in the vacuoles of plant cells. The accumulation of sodium ions inside the vacuoles provides a 2-fold advantage: (i) reducing the toxic levels of sodium in cytosol; and (ii) increasing the vacuolar osmotic potential with the concomitant generation of a more negative water potential that favors water uptake by the cell and better tissue water retention under high soil salinity. The success of this approach was demonstrated in several plants, where the overexpression of the Arabidopsis gene AtNHX1 that encodes a vacuolar sodium/proton antiporter resulted in higher plant salt tolerance. Overexpression of AtNHX1 increases sodium uptake in vacuoles, which leads to increased vacuolar solute concentration and therefore higher salt tolerance in transgenic plants. In an effort to engineer cotton for higher drought and salt tolerance, we created transgenic cotton plants expressing AtNHX1. These AtNHX1-expressing cotton plants generated more biomass and produced more fibers when grown in the presence of 200 mM NaCl in greenhouse conditions. The increased fiber yield was probably due to better photosynthetic performance and higher nitrogen assimilation rates observed in the AtNHX1-expressing cotton plants as compared with wild-type cotton plants under saline conditions. Furthermore, the field-grown AtNHX1-expressing cotton plants produced more fibers with better quality, indicating that AtNHX1 can indeed be used for improving salt stress tolerance in cotton. JSPP

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1848-1854
Number of pages7
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Volume46
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2005

Keywords

  • Crop improvement
  • Fiber yield
  • Photosynthesis
  • Salt tolerance
  • Sodium/proton antiporter

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