Combating stress with flavodoxin: a promising route for crop improvement

Trends Biotechnol. 2008 Oct;26(10):531-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2008.07.001. Epub 2008 Aug 14.


Environmental stresses and iron limitation are the primary causes of crop losses worldwide. Engineering strategies aimed at gaining stress tolerance have focused on overexpression of endogenous genes belonging to molecular networks for stress perception or responses. Based on the typical response of photosynthetic microorganisms to stress, an alternative approach has been recently applied with considerable success. Ferredoxin, a stress-sensitive target, was replaced in tobacco chloroplasts by an isofunctional protein, a cyanobacterial flavodoxin, which is absent in plants. Resulting transgenic lines showed wide-range tolerance to drought, chilling, oxidants, heat and iron starvation. The survival of plants under such adverse conditions would be an enormous agricultural advantage and makes this novel strategy a potentially powerful biotechnological tool for the generation of multiple-tolerant crops in the near future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / genetics
  • Acclimatization / physiology
  • Chloroplasts / genetics
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism*
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics*
  • Crops, Agricultural / physiology
  • Droughts
  • Flavodoxin / genetics
  • Flavodoxin / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Photosynthesis / physiology*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Tobacco / genetics*


  • Flavodoxin