Up-regulation of a H+-pyrophosphatase (H+-PPase) as a strategy to engineer drought-resistant crop plants

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Dec 27;102(52):18830-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0509512102. Epub 2005 Dec 16.


Engineering drought -resistant crop plants is a critically important objective. Overexpression of the vacuolar H(+)-pyrophosphatase (H(+)-PPase) AVP1 in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana results in enhanced performance under soil water deficits. Recent work demonstrates that AVP1 plays an important role in root development through the facilitation of auxin fluxes. With the objective of improving crop performance, we expressed AVP1 in a commercial cultivar of tomato. This approach resulted in (i) greater pyrophosphate-driven cation transport into root vacuolar fractions, (ii) increased root biomass, and (iii) enhanced recovery of plants from an episode of soil water deficit stress. More robust root systems allowed transgenic tomato plants to take up greater amounts of water during the imposed water deficit stress, resulting in a more favorable plant water status and less injury. This study documents a general strategy for improving drought resistance of crops.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Biological Transport
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics*
  • Crops, Agricultural / metabolism*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Diphosphates / chemistry
  • Disasters
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Engineering*
  • Homozygote
  • Inorganic Pyrophosphatase / biosynthesis*
  • Inorganic Pyrophosphatase / chemistry*
  • Ion Transport
  • Mutation
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Roots
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Solanum lycopersicum / genetics
  • Time Factors
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Transgenes
  • Up-Regulation*
  • Water / metabolism


  • Diphosphates
  • Plant Proteins
  • Water
  • DNA
  • Inorganic Pyrophosphatase