Expression of the Aeluropus littoralis AlSAP Gene Enhances Rice Yield under Field Drought at the Reproductive Stage

  • Ghneim-Herrera T
  • Selvaraj M
  • Meynard D
  • et al.
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Abstract

© 2017 Ghneim-Herrera, Selvaraj, Meynard, Fabre, Peña, Ben Romdhane, Ben Saad, Ogawa, Rebolledo, Ishitani, Tohme, Al-Doss, Guiderdoni and Hassairi.We evaluated the yields of Oryza sativa L. ‘Nipponbare’ rice lines expressing a gene encoding an A20/AN1 domain stress-associated protein, AlSAP, from the halophyte grass Aeluropus littoralis under the control of different promoters. Three independent field trials were conducted, with drought imposed at the reproductive stage. In all trials, the two transgenic lines, RN5 and RN6, consistently out-performed non-transgenic (NT) and wild-type (WT) controls, providing 50-90% increases in grain yield (GY). Enhancement of tillering and panicle fertility contributed to this improved GY under drought. In contrast with physiological records collected during previous greenhouse dry-down experiments, where drought was imposed at the early tillering stage, we did not observe significant differences in photosynthetic parameters, leaf water potential, or accumulation of antioxidants in flag leaves of AlSAP-lines subjected to drought at flowering. However, AlSAP expression alleviated leaf rolling and leaf drying induced by drought, resulting in increased accumulation of green biomass. Therefore, the observed enhanced performance of the AlSAP-lines subjected to drought at the reproductive stage can be tentatively ascribed to a primed status of the transgenic plants, resulting from a higher accumulation of biomass during vegetative growth, allowing reserve remobilization and maintenance of productive tillering and grain filling. Under irrigated conditions, the overall performance of AlSAP-lines was comparable with, or even significantly better than, the NT and WT controls. Thus, AlSAP expression inflicted no penalty on rice yields under optimal growth conditions. Our results support the use of AlSAP transgenics to reduce rice GY losses under drought conditions.

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Ghneim-Herrera, T., Selvaraj, M. G., Meynard, D., Fabre, D., Peña, A., Ben Romdhane, W., … Hassairi, A. (2017). Expression of the Aeluropus littoralis AlSAP Gene Enhances Rice Yield under Field Drought at the Reproductive Stage. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.00994

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