Research Article

Overexpression of EsMcsu1 from the halophytic plant Eutrema salsugineum promotes abscisic acid biosynthesis and increases drought resistance in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)

Published: December 17, 2015
Genet. Mol. Res. 14 (4) : 17204-17218 DOI: 10.4238/2015.December.16.20

Abstract

The stress phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays pivotal roles in plants’ adaptive responses to adverse environments. Molybdenum cofactor sulfurases influence aldehyde oxidase activity and ABA biosynthesis. In this study, we isolated a novel EsMcsu1 gene encoding a molybdenum cofactor sulfurase from Eutrema salsugineum. EsMcus1 transcriptional patterns varied between organs, and its expression was significantly upregulated by abiotic stress or ABA treatment. Alfalfa plants that overexpressed EsMcsu1 had a higher ABA content than wild-type (WT) plants under drought stress conditions. Furthermore, levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), ion leakage, and malondialdehyde were lower in the transgenic plants than in the WT plants after drought treatment, suggesting that the transgenic plants experienced less ROS-mediated damage. However, the expression of several stress-responsive genes, antioxidant enzyme activity, and osmolyte (proline and total soluble sugar) levels in the transgenic plants were higher than those in the WT plants after drought treatment. Therefore, EsMcsu1 overexpression improved drought tolerance in alfalfa plants by activating a series of ABA-mediated stress responses.

The stress phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays pivotal roles in plants’ adaptive responses to adverse environments. Molybdenum cofactor sulfurases influence aldehyde oxidase activity and ABA biosynthesis. In this study, we isolated a novel EsMcsu1 gene encoding a molybdenum cofactor sulfurase from Eutrema salsugineum. EsMcus1 transcriptional patterns varied between organs, and its expression was significantly upregulated by abiotic stress or ABA treatment. Alfalfa plants that overexpressed EsMcsu1 had a higher ABA content than wild-type (WT) plants under drought stress conditions. Furthermore, levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), ion leakage, and malondialdehyde were lower in the transgenic plants than in the WT plants after drought treatment, suggesting that the transgenic plants experienced less ROS-mediated damage. However, the expression of several stress-responsive genes, antioxidant enzyme activity, and osmolyte (proline and total soluble sugar) levels in the transgenic plants were higher than those in the WT plants after drought treatment. Therefore, EsMcsu1 overexpression improved drought tolerance in alfalfa plants by activating a series of ABA-mediated stress responses.