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Expression of the Aeluropus littoralis AlSAP gene in rice confers broad tolerance to abiotic stresses through maintenance of photosynthesis

Ben Saad R., Fabre D., Mieulet D., Meynard D., Dingkuhn M., Al-Doss A., Guiderdoni E., Hassairi A.. 2012. Plant, Cell and Environment, 35 (3) : p. 626-643.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2011.02441.x

The expression of AlSAP, in rice cv. Nipponbare, enhances plant tolerance to cold, drought and salt stresses. AlSAP lines showed 100% survival rate and set seeds while control plants did not recover from the cold treatment. Under a severe drought stress treatment (fraction of transpirable soil water down to 0.1), AlSAP lines exhibited enhanced Transpiration Efficiency (TE) and maintained a high A (Assimilation rate) value (22 µmol·m?2 s?1) while these values dramatically decreased (A = 4 µmol·m?2 s?1) in control plants which were subsequently unable to recover from the stress. Of noteworthy is that AlSAP rice plants yielded a similar and a 60% seed set under control and stress conditions respectively, with regard to wild-type (WT) plants grown under control conditions. This indicates that AlSAP expression imposes no yield penalty and allows seed production even following a severe drought stress at the vegetative stage. Furthermore, AlSAP rice was shown to accumulate transcripts of a pilot set of eight stress-related genes at a significantly higher level than WT plants, both under control and stressed conditions. The results suggest that AlSAP expression generates stress tolerance in plants through maintenance of the photosynthetic apparatus integrity and by stimulating an endogenous adaptive potential which is not effectively accomplished in WT plants.

Mots-clés : oryza sativa; plante transgénique; agrobacterium tumefaciens; expression des gènes; poaceae; tolérance au sel; tolérance au froid; résistance à la sécheresse; aeluropus littoralis

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