Genetic Engineering for Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants

Institute Plant Biology and Biotechnology MES Republic of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan, 050040, Almaty, Timiryazev str., 45. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Molecular control mechanisms for abiotic stress tolerance are based on the activation and regulation of specific stress-related genes such as C4-pepc, C4-ppdk, desA12licBM3, FeSOD1. These genes are involved in the different aspects of stress responses under drought, high light intensity, high temperature (genes pepc, ppdk in C4-plants); low temperature (desA12licBM3), oxidative stress (FeSOD1). Plant material: 5 of USA commercial and 15 Kazakhstan spring and winter wheat varieties; 25 Kazakhstan and foreign soybean varieties. Genetic material: C4 PEPC and C4 – ppdk genes from maize, desA12licBM3 from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, FeSOD1 from Arabidopsis thaliana. Methods: germ-line Agrobacterium pipetting technique, molecular biological confirmation, physiology-biochemical indices for stress resistance. Abiotic stress tolerance has been genetically engineered in C3 wheat by over-expressing C4 genes pepc, ppdk and in C3 soybean – ppdk, desA12licBM3, FeSOD1genes. For this aim we have elaborated and patented new germ-line biotechnology (genetic transformation by plant germ elements – pollen, ovary, embryo, seed) for transgenic plants creation which enhance possibility of simple introduction new valuable genes for plant abiotic stress resistance, genetic modification of photosynthesis, yield crop improvement by Agrobacterium pipetting into wheat ear stigma and soybean pollen tubes. High level of expression of introduced genes in transgenic plants was determined by assaying the enzyme activity encoded by consequent gene followed by gel electrophoresis, PCR, Northern, Southern and Western blot analyses. High activities of the enzyme were correlated with the amounts of enzyme protein in the leaves. Most transgenic plants with C4 key photosynthetic genes exhibited an enhanced photosynthetic capacity. All transgenic lines showed superior photosynthetic performance under different water regimes. Transgenic lines produced higher grain yield (25-30%), especially under adverse conditions, and resistance to drought, extreme temperature and oxidative stress, shown to be used as good models to study molecular basis of abiotic stress resistance. Radical improvements in crop productivity, such as engineering C4 photosynthesis into C3 plants and genetic engineering for stress resistance are necessary to ensure continued food security.