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The drought and salt tolerances of wheat were enhanced by ectopic expression of the Arabidopsis ornithine aminotransferase (AtOAT) encoded gene. The OAT was confirmed to play a role in proline biosynthesis in wheat. Proline (Pro) accumulation is a common response to both abiotic and biotic stresses in plants. Ornithine aminotransferase (OAT) is pyridoxal-5-phosphate dependent enzyme involved in plant proline biosynthesis. During stress condition, proline is synthesized via glutamate and ornithine pathways. The OAT is the key enzyme in ornithine pathway. In this study, an OAT gene AtOAT from Arabidopsis was expressed in wheat for its functional characterization under drought, salinity, and heat stress conditions. We found that the expression of AtOAT enhanced the drought and salt stress tolerances of wheat by increasing the proline content and peroxidase activity. In addition, it was confirmed that the expression of AtOAT also played a partial tolerance to heat stress in the transgenic wheat plants. Moreover, quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis showed that the transformation of AtOAT up-regulated the expression of the proline biosynthesis associated genes TaOAT, TaP5CS, and TaP5CR, and down-regulated that of the proline catabolism related gene TaP5CDH in the transgenic plants under stress conditions. Moreover, the genes involved in ornithine pathway (Orn-OAT-P5C/GSA-P5CR-Pro) were up-regulated along with the up-regulation of those genes involved in glutamate pathway (Glu-P5CS-P5C/GSA-P5CR-Pro). Therefore, we concluded that the expression of AtOAT enhanced wheat abiotic tolerance via modifying the proline biosynthesis by up-regulating the expression of the proline biosynthesis-associated genes and down-regulating that of the proline catabolic gene under stresses condition.


Alia Anwar, Ke Wang, Jing Wang, Lei Shi, Lipu Du, Xingguo Ye. Expression of Arabidopsis Ornithine Aminotransferase (AtOAT) encoded gene enhances multiple abiotic stress tolerances in wheat. Plant cell reports. 2021 May 05

PMID: 33950277

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