Manipulation of Ascorbate Biosynthetic, Recycling, and Regulatory Pathways for Improved Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants.
ABSTRACT: Abiotic stresses, such as drought, salinity, and extreme temperatures, are major limiting factors in global crop productivity and are predicted to be exacerbated by climate change. The overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a common consequence of many abiotic stresses. Ascorbate, also known as vitamin C, is the most abundant water-soluble antioxidant in plant cells and can combat oxidative stress directly as a ROS scavenger, or through the ascorbate-glutathione cycle-a major antioxidant system in plant cells. Engineering crops with enhanced ascorbate concentrations therefore has the potential to promote broad abiotic stress tolerance. Three distinct strategies have been utilized to increase ascorbate concentrations in plants: (i) increased biosynthesis, (ii) enhanced recycling, or (iii) modulating regulatory factors. Here, we review the genetic pathways underlying ascorbate biosynthesis, recycling, and regulation in plants, including a summary of all metabolic engineering strategies utilized to date to increase ascorbate concentrations in model and crop species. We then highlight transgene-free strategies utilizing genome editing tools to increase ascorbate concentrations in crops, such as editing the highly conserved upstream open reading frame that controls translation of the GDP-L-galactose phosphorylase gene.
Project description:Abiotic stress and climate change is the major concern for plant growth and crop yield. Abiotic stresses lead to enhanced accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) consequently resulting in cellular damage and major losses in crop yield. One of the major scavengers of ROS is ascorbate (AA) which acts as first line of defense against external oxidants. An enzyme named ascorbate oxidase (AAO) is known to oxidize AA and deleteriously affect the plant system in response to stress. Genome-wide analysis of AAO gene family has led to the identification of five, three, seven, four, and six AAO genes in Oryza sativa, Arabidopsis, Glycine max, Zea mays, and Sorghum bicolor genomes, respectively. Expression profiling of these genes was carried out in response to various abiotic stresses and during various stages of vegetative and reproductive development using publicly available microarray database. Expression analysis in Oryza sativa revealed tissue specific expression of AAO genes wherein few members were exclusively expressed in either root or shoot. These genes were found to be regulated by both developmental cues as well as diverse stress conditions. The qRT-PCR analysis in response to salinity and drought stress in rice shoots revealed OsAAO2 to be the most stress responsive gene. On the other hand, OsAAO3 and OsAAO4 genes showed enhanced expression in roots under salinity/drought stresses. This study provides lead about important stress responsive AAO genes in various crop plants, which could be used to engineer climate resilient crop plants.
Project description:Monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR; EC 18.104.22.168) is a key enzyme in the reactive oxygen species (ROS) detoxification system of plants. The participation of MDHAR in ascorbate (AsA) recycling in the ascorbate-glutathione cycle is important in the acquired tolerance of crop plants to abiotic environmental stresses. Thus, MDHAR represents a strategic target protein for the improvement of crop yields. Although physiological studies have intensively characterized MDHAR, a structure-based functional analysis is not available. Here, a cytosolic MDHAR (OsMDHAR) derived from Oryza sativa L. japonica was expressed using Escherichia coli strain NiCo21 (DE3) and purified. The purified OsMDHAR showed specific enzyme activity (approximately 380?U per milligram of protein) and was crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method at pH 8.0 and 298?K. The crystal diffracted to 1.9?Å resolution and contained one molecule in the asymmetric unit (the Matthews coefficient VM is 1.98?Å(3)?Da(-1), corresponding to a solvent content of 38.06%) in space group P41212 with unit-cell parameters a = b = 81.89, c = 120.4?Å. The phase of the OsMDHAR structure was resolved by the molecular-replacement method using a ferredoxin reductase from Acidovorax sp. strain KKS102 (PDB entry 4h4q) as a model.
Project description:Abiotic stresses are serious threats to plant growth, productivity and result in crop loss worldwide, reducing average yields of most major crops. Although abiotic stresses might elicit different plant responses, most induce the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in plant cells leads to oxidative damage. L-ascorbic acid (AsA, vitamin C) is known as an antioxidant and H2O2-scavenger that defends plants against abiotic stresses. In addition, vitamin C is also an important component of human nutrition that has to be obtained from different foods. Therefore, increasing the vitamin C content is important for improving abiotic stresses tolerance and nutrition quality in crops production.Here, we show that the expression of AtOxR gene is response to multiple abiotic stresses (salt, osmotic, metal ion, and H2O2 treatment) in both the leaves and roots of Arabidopsis. AtOxR protein was localized to the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) in yeast and Arabidopsis cells by co-localization analysis with ER specific dye. AtOxR-overexpressing transgenic Arabidopsis plants enhance the tolerance to abiotic stresses. Overexpression of AtOxR gene resulted in AsA accumulation and decreased H2O2 content in transgenic plants.In this study, our results show that AtOxR responds to multiple abiotic stresses. Overexpressing AtOxR improves tolerance to abiotic stresses and increase vitamin C content in Arabidopsis thaliana. AtOxR will be useful for the improvement of important crop plants through moleculer breeding.
Project description:Melatonin is a multifunctional signaling molecule that is ubiquitously distributed in different parts of a plant and responsible for stimulating several physio-chemical responses to adverse environmental conditions. In this review, we show that, although plants are able to biosynthesize melatonin, the exogenous application of melatonin to various crops can improve plant growth and development in response to various abiotic and biotic stresses (e.g., drought, unfavorable temperatures, high salinity, heavy metal contamination, acid rain, and combined stresses) by regulating antioxidant machinery of plants. Current knowledge suggests that exogenously applied melatonin can enhance the stress tolerance of plants by regulating both the enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defense systems. Enzymic antioxidants upregulated by exogenous melatonin include superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and enzymes involved in the ascorbate-glutathione cycle (ascorbate peroxidase, monodehydroascorbate reductase, dehydroascorbate reductase, and glutathione reductase), whereas levels of non-enzymatic antioxidants such as ascorbate, reduced glutathione, carotenoids, tocopherols, and phenolics are also higher under stress conditions. The enhanced antioxidant system consequently exhibits lower lipid peroxidation and greater plasma membrane integrity when under stress. However, these responses vary greatly from crop to crop and depend on the intensity and type of stress, and most studies to date have been conducted under controlled conditions. This means that a wider range of crop field trials and detailed transcriptomic analysis are required to reveal the gene regulatory networks involved in the between melatonin, antioxidants, and abiotic stress.
Project description:Climate change-induced abiotic stress results in crop yield and production losses. These stresses result in changes at the physiological and molecular level that affect the development and growth of the plant. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) is formed at high levels due to abiotic stress within different organelles, leading to cellular damage. Plants have evolved mechanisms to control the production and scavenging of ROS through enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidative processes. However, ROS has a dual function in abiotic stresses where, at high levels, they are toxic to cells while the same molecule can function as a signal transducer that activates a local and systemic plant defense response against stress. The effects, perception, signaling, and activation of ROS and their antioxidative responses are elaborated in this review. This review aims to provide a purview of processes involved in ROS homeostasis in plants and to identify genes that are triggered in response to abiotic-induced oxidative stress. This review articulates the importance of these genes and pathways in understanding the mechanism of resistance in plants and the importance of this information in breeding and genetically developing crops for resistance against abiotic stress in plants.
Project description:In most crop breeding programs, the rate of yield increment is insufficient to cope with the increased food demand caused by a rapidly expanding global population. In plant breeding, the development of improved crop varieties is limited by the very long crop duration. Given the many phases of crossing, selection, and testing involved in the production of new plant varieties, it can take one or two decades to create a new cultivar. One possible way of alleviating food scarcity problems and increasing food security is to develop improved plant varieties rapidly. Traditional farming methods practiced since quite some time have decreased the genetic variability of crops. To improve agronomic traits associated with yield, quality, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses in crop plants, several conventional and molecular approaches have been used, including genetic selection, mutagenic breeding, somaclonal variations, whole-genome sequence-based approaches, physical maps, and functional genomic tools. However, recent advances in genome editing technology using programmable nucleases, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins have opened the door to a new plant breeding era. Therefore, to increase the efficiency of crop breeding, plant breeders and researchers around the world are using novel strategies such as speed breeding, genome editing tools, and high-throughput phenotyping. In this review, we summarize recent findings on several aspects of crop breeding to describe the evolution of plant breeding practices, from traditional to modern speed breeding combined with genome editing tools, which aim to produce crop generations with desired traits annually.
Project description:Abiotic stresses restrict the productivity and quality of agricultural crops. Glutathione S-transferase (GST) utilizes glutathione to scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) that result from abiotic stresses. This study aimed to determine the expression pattern of the MsGSTU8 gene and its effects on saline-alkali tolerance. MsGSTU8, from alfalfa (Medicago sativa 'Zhaodong'), was transformed into transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and overexpressed to determine its effects on saline-alkali tolerance. The gene products in alfalfa localized to the cytoplasm and the transcript levels were higher in the leaves than the roots and stems. Expression was strongly induced by cold, drought, salt and saline-alkali stresses as well as abscisic acid (ABA) treatments. The transgenic tobacco lines had significantly higher transcription levels of the abiotic stress-related genes and higher GST activity than the wild types. Transgenic tobacco lines with saline-alkali treatments maintained their chlorophyll content, showed improved antioxidant enzyme activity and soluble sugar levels, reduced ion leakage, O2 .-, H2O2 accumulation and malondialdehyde content. Our results indicate that overexpression of MsGSTU8 could improve resistance to saline-alkali stresses by decreasing the accumulation of ROS and increasing the levels of antioxidant enzymes. Furthermore, they suggest that MsGSTU8 could be utilized for transgenic crop plant breeding.
Project description:Plant growth, development, and productivity are adversely affected by environmental stresses such as drought (osmotic stress), soil salinity, cold, oxidative stress, irradiation, and diverse diseases. These impacts are of increasing concern in light of climate change. Noticeably, plants have developed their adaptive mechanism to respond to environmental stresses by transcriptional activation of stress-responsive genes. Among the known transcription factors, DoF, WRKY, MYB, NAC, bZIP, ERF, ARF and HSF are those widely associated with abiotic and biotic stress response in plants. Genome-wide identification and characterization analyses of these transcription factors have been almost completed in major solanaceous food crops, emphasizing these transcription factor families which have much potential for the improvement of yield, stress tolerance, reducing marginal land and increase the water use efficiency of solanaceous crops in arid and semi-arid areas where plant demand more water. Most importantly, transcription factors are proteins that play a key role in improving crop yield under water-deficient areas and a place where the severity of pathogen is very high to withstand the ongoing climate change. Therefore, this review highlights the role of major transcription factors in solanaceous crops, current and future perspectives in improving the crop traits towards abiotic and biotic stress tolerance and beyond. We have tried to accentuate the importance of using genome editing molecular technologies like CRISPR/Cas9, Virus-induced gene silencing and some other methods to improve the plant potential in giving yield under unfavorable environmental conditions.
Project description:Global warming leads to the concurrence of a number of abiotic and biotic stresses, thus affecting agricultural productivity. Occurrence of abiotic stresses can alter plant-pest interactions by enhancing host plant susceptibility to pathogenic organisms, insects, and by reducing competitive ability with weeds. On the contrary, some pests may alter plant response to abiotic stress factors. Therefore, systematic studies are pivotal to understand the effect of concurrent abiotic and biotic stress conditions on crop productivity. However, to date, a collective database on the occurrence of various stress combinations in agriculturally prominent areas is not available. This review attempts to assemble published information on this topic, with a particular focus on the impact of combined drought and pathogen stresses on crop productivity. In doing so, this review highlights some agriculturally important morpho-physiological traits that can be utilized to identify genotypes with combined stress tolerance. In addition, this review outlines potential role of recent genomic tools in deciphering combined stress tolerance in plants. This review will, therefore, be helpful for agronomists and field pathologists in assessing the impact of the interactions between drought and plant-pathogens on crop performance. Further, the review will be helpful for physiologists and molecular biologists to design agronomically relevant strategies for the development of broad spectrum stress tolerant crops.
Project description:The recent rapid climate changes and increasing global population have led to an increased incidence of abiotic stress and decreased crop productivity. Environmental stresses, such as temperature, drought, nutrient deficiency, salinity, and heavy metal stresses, are major challenges for agriculture, and they lead to a significant reduction in crop growth and productivity. Abiotic stress is a very complex phenomenon, involving a variety of physiological and biochemical changes in plant cells. Plants exposed to abiotic stress exhibit enhanced levels of ROS (reactive oxygen species), which are highly reactive and toxic and affect the biosynthesis of chlorophyll, photosynthetic capacity, and carbohydrate, protein, lipid, and antioxidant enzyme activities. Transgenic breeding offers a suitable alternative to conventional breeding to achieve plant genetic improvements. Over the last two decades, genetic engineering/transgenic breeding techniques demonstrated remarkable developments in manipulations of the genes for the induction of desired characteristics into transgenic plants. Transgenic approaches provide us with access to identify the candidate genes, miRNAs, and transcription factors (TFs) that are involved in specific plant processes, thus enabling an integrated knowledge of the molecular and physiological mechanisms influencing the plant tolerance and productivity. The accuracy and precision of this phenomenon assures great success in the future of plant improvements. Hence, transgenic breeding has proven to be a promising tool for abiotic stress improvement in crops. This review focuses on the potential and successful applications, recent progress, and future perspectives of transgenic breeding for improving abiotic stress tolerance and productivity in plants.