Alfin1 transcription factor overexpression enhances plant root growth under normal and saline conditions and improves salt tolerance in alfalfa

Planta. 2000 Feb;210(3):416-22. doi: 10.1007/PL00008150.


Plant root development is an essential determinant of plant growth and crop yield that could be enhanced by induced changes in the expression of root-specific regulatory factors. We reported previously that Alfin1 binds DNA in a sequence-specific manner and that Alfin1 overexpression in transgenic alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) enhances expression of the salt-inducible MsPRP2 gene in roots, suggesting that Alfin1 functions to regulate gene expression in roots. Here we show that Alfin1 is an essential gene for root growth and that its overexpression in transgenic plants confers a many-fold increase in root growth under normal and saline conditions. Alfin1-binding sites occur in promoters of genes expressed in roots of a wide variety of plant species and we propose that it is a general root growth regulator. Even though Alfin1 overexpression was under the control of the CaMV 35S promoter, plant shoot growth was not adversely affected. We show further that introduction of the Alfin1 transgene in plants confers a dominant characteristic that significantly increases plant growth and salt tolerance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Caulimovirus / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant* / drug effects
  • Medicago sativa / genetics
  • Medicago sativa / physiology*
  • Plant Proteins*
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • alfin1 protein, Medicago sativa
  • Sodium Chloride