Research Article

Cloning and characterization of a SnRK2 gene from Jatropha curcas L.

Published: December 19, 2014
Genet. Mol. Res. 13 (4) : 10958-10975 DOI: 10.4238/2014.December.19.18

Abstract

Although the SnRK2 class of Ser/Thr protein kinases is critical for signal transduction and abiotic stress resistance in plants, there have been no studies to examine SnRK2 in Jatropha curcas L. In the present study, JcSnRK2 was cloned from J. curcas using the rapid amplification of cDNA end technique and characterized. The JcSnRK2 genomic sequence is 2578 base pairs (bp), includes 10 exons and 9 introns, and the 1017-bp open reading frame encodes 338 amino acids. JcSnRK2 was transcribed in all examined tissues, with the highest transcription rate observed in the roots, followed by the leaves and stalks; the lowest rate was observed in flowers and seeds. JcSnRK2 expression increased following abscisic acid treatment, salinity, and drought stress. During a 48-h stress period, the expression of JcSnRK2 showed 2 peaks and periodic up- and downregulation. JcSnRK2 was rapidly activated within 1 h under salt and drought stress, but not under cold stress. Because of the gene sequence and expression similarity of JcSnRK2 to AtSnRK2.8, primarily in the roots, an eukaryotic expression vector containing the JcSnRK2 gene (pBI121-JcSnRK2) was constructed and introduced to the Arabidopsis AtSnRK2.8 mutant snf2.8. JcSnRK2-overexpressing plants exhibited higher salt and drought tolerance, further demonstrating the function of JcSnRK2 in the osmotic stress response. J. curcas is highly resistant to extreme salt and drought conditions and JcSnRK2 was found to be activated under these conditions. Thus, JcSnRK2 is potential candidate for improving crop tolerance to salt and drought stress.

Although the SnRK2 class of Ser/Thr protein kinases is critical for signal transduction and abiotic stress resistance in plants, there have been no studies to examine SnRK2 in Jatropha curcas L. In the present study, JcSnRK2 was cloned from J. curcas using the rapid amplification of cDNA end technique and characterized. The JcSnRK2 genomic sequence is 2578 base pairs (bp), includes 10 exons and 9 introns, and the 1017-bp open reading frame encodes 338 amino acids. JcSnRK2 was transcribed in all examined tissues, with the highest transcription rate observed in the roots, followed by the leaves and stalks; the lowest rate was observed in flowers and seeds. JcSnRK2 expression increased following abscisic acid treatment, salinity, and drought stress. During a 48-h stress period, the expression of JcSnRK2 showed 2 peaks and periodic up- and downregulation. JcSnRK2 was rapidly activated within 1 h under salt and drought stress, but not under cold stress. Because of the gene sequence and expression similarity of JcSnRK2 to AtSnRK2.8, primarily in the roots, an eukaryotic expression vector containing the JcSnRK2 gene (pBI121-JcSnRK2) was constructed and introduced to the Arabidopsis AtSnRK2.8 mutant snf2.8. JcSnRK2-overexpressing plants exhibited higher salt and drought tolerance, further demonstrating the function of JcSnRK2 in the osmotic stress response. J. curcas is highly resistant to extreme salt and drought conditions and JcSnRK2 was found to be activated under these conditions. Thus, JcSnRK2 is potential candidate for improving crop tolerance to salt and drought stress.