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Production of transgenic cucumber plants over-expressing the Arabidopsis thaliana transcriptional factor CBF show enhanced tolerance to salinity

Production of transgenic cucumber plants over-expressing the Arabidopsis thaliana transcriptional factor CBF show enhanced tolerance to salinity

Hortscience 38(5): 814

Crop productivity throughout the world is limited by drought and salinity stress. We sought to engineer increased salt tolerance in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) by introducing the Arabidopsis thaliana transcriptional activator CRT/DRE binding factor 1 and 3 (CBF1 and CBF3) genes. The CBF transcription factors play an essential role in activating genes involved in plant adaptation to dehydration-related stress conditions such as freezing temperature, salinity, or drought. Gene incorporation and transfer to the next generation was verified using ELISA and PCR for 6 CBF1 families and 4 CBF3 families; gene expression was verified in T0 and T2 plants by Northern blot analysis. The transgenic CBF plants showed elevated proline (5-7 fold) and sugar content (2-3 fold) under non-salt stress and salt-stressed conditions relative to control plants (parental plants and non-transgenic segregants). Growth of the transgenic and non-transgenic plants under non-stressed conditions was equivalent as measured by fresh weight, dry weight and number of leaves. However, when subjected to salt stress, transgenic families showed significantly less inhibition of growth: 9% to 38% reduction at 100 mM NaCl (average 26% reduction) relative to 55% to 63% reduction for non-transgenic plants. The accumulation of soluble sugars and proline was directly correlated with the tolerance to salt stress in transgenic plants as measured by accumulation of dry weight. These results show that the CBF-expressing cucumber plants show elevated resistance to salt conditions in controlled greenhouse trails. Field experiments will be performed this summer to test the ability of CBF-expressing cucumbers to withstand salt and drought stress under semi-arid conditions.

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Accession: 035563600

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