Scientists found evidence that Salt Tolerance5 (ThST5) from Thellungiella halophila is a promising candidate to improve salt tolerance in cotton. These findings can take salt-tolerant cotton research to new levels.
ThST5 was previously isolated by the scientists from the halophyte T. halophila, an ortholog of Arabidopsis SPT4 which encodes a transcription elongation factor. However, previous evaluations did not confer SPT4-2's salt tolerance in crops. For this study, the scientists were able to record evidence that SPT4-2 increases salt tolerance in cotton plants.
The scientists used R15, an upland cotton variety that is highly responsive to genetic manipulations, to test its reaction to the overexpression of ThST5, which was done by transferring ThST5:Pcb2004 construct using Agrobacterium-mediate transformation method. The transgenic cotton plants showed enhanced salt tolerance to salt stress during seed germination and seedling stage. They also showed improved salinity tolerance and improved yield in field conditions. Further analysis also showed that ThST5 helped maintain ion homeostatis and that it orchestrated the expression of genes encoding antioxidants and salt-responsive transcription factors.
In conclusion, the scientists stated that ThST5 is a positive regulator of salinity tolerance mainly by improving the root system, maintaining intracellular ion homeostasis, cellular reactive oxygen species detoxification, and regulating salt-related transcription factors.
(Source: Crop Biotech Update, International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. www.isaaa.org)