A lea-class gene of tomato confers salt and freezing tolerance when expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Gene. 1996 May 8;170(2):243-8. doi: 10.1016/0378-1119(95)00868-3.


During periods of water deficit, plants accumulate late embryogenesis-abundant (LEA) proteins which are thought to protect cells from stresses associated with dehydration. One of these genes, le25, is expressed in tomato leaves and roots in response to water deficit and abscisic acid accumulation. To study the function of this protein and to test the effect of overproduction of the LE25 protein in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Sc), a recombinant plasmid in which le25 is expressed under the control of the GAL1 promoter was constructed. The content of LE25 was high in Sc cells transformed with the recombinant plasmid. The transformant exhibited several stress-tolerant phenotypes. Growth of the transformant in a medium with 1.2 M NaCl was improved, as compared to a control strain. While the control strain showed a long lag phase of 40 h, le25-expressing cells showed a shortened lag phase of 10 h. However, no growth improvement was observed in a medium with 2 M sorbitol. In addition, the transformant had an increased survival rate after freezing stress, but not after high-temperature stress. These results, together with its predicted secondary structure, may indicate that LE25 functions as an ion scavenger.

MeSH terms

  • Culture Media
  • Freezing*
  • Galactose / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / genetics
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / physiology
  • Osmotic Pressure
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / physiology*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology*
  • Salts


  • Culture Media
  • Plant Proteins
  • Salts
  • late embryogenesis abundant protein, plant
  • Galactose