Late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins are a group of hydrophilic proteins, which accumulate in plants under varied stress conditions like drought, salinity, extreme temperatures and oxidative stress suggesting their role in the protection of plants against these stresses. A transcript derived fragment (TDF) corresponding to LEA gene, which got differentially expressed in wild peanut, Arachis diogoi against the late leaf spot pathogen, Phaeoisariopsis personata was used in this study. We have cloned its full length cDNA by RACE-PCR, which was designated as AdLEA. AdLEA belongs to the atypical Group 5C of LEA protein family as confirmed by sequence analysis. Group 5C LEA protein subfamily contains Pfam LEA_2 domain and is highly hydrophobic. In native conditions, expression of AdLEA was upregulated considerably upon hormonal and abiotic stress treatments emphasizing its role in abiotic stress tolerance. Subcellular localization studies showed that AdLEA protein is distributed in both nucleus and cytosol. Ectopic expression of AdLEA in tobacco resulted in enhanced tolerance of plants to dehydration, salinity and oxidative stress with the transgenic plants showing higher chlorophyll content and reduced lipid peroxidation as compared to wild type plants. Overexpressed AdLEA tobacco plants maintained better photosynthetic efficiency under drought conditions as demonstrated by chlorophyll fluorescence measurements. These plants showed enhanced transcript accumulation of some stress-responsive genes. Our study also elucidates that ROS levels were significantly reduced in leaves and stomatal guard cells of transgenic plants upon stress treatments. These results suggest that AdLEA confers multiple stress tolerance to plants, which make it a potential gene for genetic modification in plants.
Kumar, S., Kirti, P. B., Reddy, A. R., Rampuria, S., Sharma, A., & Kumar, D. (2016). Ectopic Expression of an Atypical Hydrophobic Group 5 LEA Protein from Wild Peanut, Arachis diogoi Confers Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Tobacco. PLOS ONE, 11(3), e0150609. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0150609