Ectopic expression of ADP ribosylation factor 1 (SaARF1) from smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora Loisel) confers drought and salt tolerance in transgenic rice and Arabidopsis

Rohit Joshi, LSU Agricultural Center
Mangu Venkata Ramanarao, LSU Agricultural Center
Seokhyun Lee, LSU Agricultural Center
Naohiro Kato, Louisiana State University
Niranjan Baisakh, LSU Agricultural Center


Salinity and drought are two very important abiotic stressors that negatively impact the growth and yield of all sensitive crop plants. Genes from halophytes have been shown to be useful to engineer crop plants that can survive under adverse soil and water conditions. The present report establishes, for the first time, the physiological role of a class one ADP ribosylation factor gene (SaARF1) from the halophyte Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass) in imparting salinity and drought stress tolerance when expressed in both monocot (rice) and dicot (Arabidopsis) systems. The Arabidopsis and rice plants overexpressing ARF1 are many-fold more tolerant to salt and drought than wild-type (WT) plants. The transgenics exhibited improved growth and productivity relative to WT through tissue tolerance by maintaining higher relative water content and membrane stability, and higher photosynthetic yield by retaining higher chlorophyll concentration and fluorescence under stress conditions compared to WT. These findings indicated that genes from halophyte resources can be useful to engineer and improve salt and drought stress tolerance in both monocot and dicot plants. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.