SlDREB2, a tomato dehydration-responsive element-binding 2 transcription factor, mediates salt stress tolerance in tomato and Arabidopsis

Hichri I., Muhovski Y., Clippe A., Žižková E., Dobrev P.I., Motyka V., Lutts S.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana, Solanum lycopersicum, DREB2, salinity tolerance
Abstract: To counter environmental cues, cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) has evolved adaptive mechanisms requiring regulation of downstream genes.The dehydration-responsive element-binding protein 2 (DREB2) transcription factors regulate abiotic stresses responses in plants. Herein, we isolated a novel DREB2-type regulator involved in salinity response, named SlDREB2. Spatio-temporal expression profile together with investigation of its promoter activity indicated that SlDREB2 is expressed during early stages of seedling establishment and in various vegetative and reproductive organs of adult plants. SlDREB2 is up-regulated in roots and young leaves following exposure to NaCl, but is also induced by KCl and drought. Its overexpression in WT Arabidopsis and atdreb2a mutants improved seed germination and plant growth in presence of different osmotica. In tomato, SlDREB2 affected vegetative and reproductive organs development and the intronic sequence present in the 5′ UTR drives its expression. Physiological, biochemical and transcriptomic analyses showed that SlDREB2 enhanced plant tolerance to salinity by improvement of K+/Na+ ratio, and proline and polyamines biosynthesis. Exogenous hormonal treatments (abscisic acid, auxin and cytokinins) and analysis of WT and 35S::SlDREB2 tomatoes hormonal contents highlighted SlDREB2 involvement in abscisic acid biosynthesis/signalling. Altogether, our results provide an overview of SlDREB2 mode of action during early salt stress response.
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IEB authors: Petre I. Dobrev, Václav Motyka, Eva Pokorná