Expressing Arabidopsis thaliana V-ATPase subunit C in barley (Hordeum vulgare) improves plant performance under saline condition by enabling better osmotic adjustment
Adem, GD and Roy, SJ and Huang, Y and Chen, Z-H and Wang, F and Zhou, M and Bowman, JP and Holford, P and Shabala, SN, Expressing Arabidopsis thaliana V-ATPase subunit C in barley (Hordeum vulgare) improves plant performance under saline condition by enabling better osmotic adjustment, Functional Plant Biology, 44, (12) pp. 1147-1159. ISSN 1445-4408 (2017) [Refereed Article]
Salinity is a global problem affecting agriculture that results in an estimated US$27 billion loss in revenue per year. Overexpression of vacuolar ATPase subunits has been shown to be beneficial in improving plant performance under saline conditions. Most studies, however, have not shown whether overexpression of genes encoding ATPase subunits results in improvements in grain yield, and have not investigated the physiological mechanisms behind the improvement in plant growth. In this study, we constitutively expressed Arabidopsis Vacuolar ATPase subunit C (AtVHA-C) in barley. Transgenic plants were assessed for agronomical and physiological characteristics, such as fresh and dry biomass, leaf pigment content, stomatal conductance, grain yield, and leaf Na+ and K+ concentration, when grown in either 0 or 300 mM NaCl. When compared with non-transformed barley, AtVHA-C expressing barley lines had a smaller reduction in both biomass and grain yield under salinity stress. The transgenic lines accumulated Na+ and K+ in leaves for osmotic adjustment. This in turn saves energy consumed in the synthesis of organic osmolytes that otherwise would be needed for osmotic adjustment.