Mining for salt-tolerant genes from halophyte Zoysia matrella using FOX system and functional analysis of ZmGnTL

Front Plant Sci. 2022 Nov 17;13:1063436. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2022.1063436. eCollection 2022.


Zoysia matrella is a salt-tolerant turfgrass grown in areas with high soil salinity irrigated with effluent water. Previous studies focused on explaining the regulatory mechanism of Z. matrella salt-tolerance at phenotypic and physiological levels. However, the molecular mechanism associated with salt tolerance of Z. matrella remained unclear. In this study, a high-efficient method named FOX (full-length cDNA overexpression) hunting system was used to search for salt-tolerant genes in Z. matrella. Eleven candidate genes, including several known or novel salt-tolerant genes involved in different metabolism pathways, were identified. These genes exhibited inducible expression under salt stress condition. Furthermore, a novel salt-inducible candidate gene ZmGnTL was transformed into Arabidopsis for functional analysis. ZmGnTL improved salt-tolerance through regulating ion homeostasis, reactive oxygen species scavenging, and osmotic adjustment. In summary, we demonstrated that FOX is a reliable system for discovering novel genes relevant to salt tolerance and several candidate genes were identified from Z. matrella that can assist molecular breeding for plant salt-tolerance improvement.

Keywords: FOX hunting; ZmGnTL; Zoysia matrella; regulatory mechanism; salt-tolerant genes.