High salinity is one of the most severe environmental stresses and limits the growth and yield of diverse crop plants. We isolated a gene named TaPUB1 from wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv HF9703) that encodes a novel protein containing a U-box domain, the precursor RNA processing 19p (Prp19) superfamily and WD-40 repeats. Real-time reverse transcription-PCR analysis showed that TaPUB1 transcript accumulation was up-regulated by high salinity, drought and phytohormones, suggesting that it plays a role in the abiotic-related defense response. We overexpressed TaPUB1 in Nicotiana benthamiana to evaluate the function of TaPUB1 in the regulation of the salt stress response. Transgenic N. benthamiana plants (OE) with constitutively overexpressed TaPUB1 under the control of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S (CaMV 35S) promoter exhibited a higher germination rate, less growth inhibition, less Chl loss and higher photosynthetic capacity than wild-type (WT) plants under salt stress conditions. These results demonstrated the increased tolerance of OE plants to salt stress compared with the WT. The OE plants had lower osmotic potential (OP), reduced Na+ toxicity and less reactive oxygen species accumulation compared with the WT, which may be related to their higher level of osmolytes, lower Na+/K+ ratio and higher antioxidant enzyme activities under salt stress conditions. Consistent with these results, the up-regulated expression of osmic- and antioxidant-related genes in OE plants indicated a role for TaPUB1 in plant salt tolerance.
Keywords: E3 ligase gene; Na+/K+ ratio; ROS; Salt stress; TaPUB1; Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.).
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