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Mechanism of the drought tolerance of a transgenic soybean overexpressing the molecular chaperone BiP

  • Coutinho, Flaviane Silva1, 2
  • dos Santos, Danilo Silva1
  • Lima, Lucas Leal1, 2
  • Vital, Camilo Elber2
  • Santos, Lázaro Aleixo2
  • Pimenta, Maiana Reis1
  • da Silva, João Carlos1
  • Ramos, Juliana Rocha Lopes Soares1
  • Mehta, Angela3
  • Fontes, Elizabeth Pacheco Batista1
  • de Oliveira Ramos, Humberto Josué1, 2
  • 1 Universidade Federal de Viçosa, BIOAGRO/INCT-IPP, Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Viçosa, MG, Brazil , Viçosa (Brazil)
  • 2 Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Center of Analyses of Biomolecules, NuBioMol, Viçosa, MG, Brazil , Viçosa (Brazil)
  • 3 Embrapa Recursos Genéticos e Biotecnologia, Brasília, DF, Brazil , Brasília (Brazil)
Published Article
Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants
Springer India
Publication Date
Feb 14, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s12298-019-00643-x
Springer Nature


Drought is one of major constraints that limits agricultural productivity. Some factors, including climate changes and acreage expansion, indicates towards the need for developing drought tolerant genotypes. In addition to its protective role against endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, we have previously shown that the molecular chaperone binding protein (BiP) is involved in the response to osmotic stress and promotes drought tolerance. Here, we analyzed the proteomic and metabolic profiles of BiP-overexpressing transgenic soybean plants and the corresponding untransformed line under drought conditions by 2DE-MS and GC/MS. The transgenic plant showed lower levels of the abscisic acid and jasmonic acid as compared to untransformed plants both in irrigated and non-irrigated conditions. In contrast, the level of salicylic acid was higher in transgenic lines than in untransformed line, which was consistent with the antagonistic responses mediated by these phytohormones. The transgenic plants displayed a higher abundance of photosynthesis-related proteins, which gave credence to the hypothesis that these transgenic plants could survive under drought conditions due to their genetic modification and altered physiology. The proteins involved in pathways related to respiration, glycolysis and oxidative stress were not signifcantly changed in transgenic plants as compared to untransformed genotype, which indicate a lower metabolic perturbation under drought of the engineered genotype. The transgenic plants may have adopted a mechanism of drought tolerance by accumulating osmotically active solutes in the cell. As evidenced by the metabolic profiles, the accumulation of nine primary amino acids by protein degradation maintained the cellular turgor in the transgenic genotype under drought conditions. Thus, this mechanism of protection may cause the physiological activities including photosynthesis to be active under drought conditions.

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