, Volume 236, Issue 4, pp 1081-1092
Date: 09 May 2012

Autophagy-related gene, TdAtg8, in wild emmer wheat plays a role in drought and osmotic stress response

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Abstract

An autophagy-related gene Atg8 was cloned for the first time from wild emmer wheat, named as TdAtg8, and its role on autophagy under abiotic stress conditions was investigated. Examination of TdAtg8 expression patterns indicated that Atg8 expression was strongly upregulated under drought stress, especially in the roots when compared to leaves. LysoTracker® red marker, utilized to observe autophagosomes, revealed that autophagy is constitutively active in Triticum dicoccoides. Moreover, autophagy was determined to be induced in plants exposed to osmotic stress when compared to plants grown under normal conditions. Functional studies were executed in yeast to confirm that the TdATG8 protein is functional, and showed that the TdAtg8 gene complements the atg8∆::kan MX yeast mutant strain grown under nitrogen deficiency. For further functional analysis, TdATG8 protein was expressed in yeast and analyzed using Western immunoblotting. Atg8-silenced plants were exposed to drought stress and chlorophyll and malondialdehyde (MDA) content measurements demonstrated that Atg8 plays a key role on drought stress tolerance. In addition, Atg8-silenced plants exposed to osmotic stress were found to have decreased Atg8 expression level in comparison to controls. Hence, Atg8 is a positive regulator in osmotic and drought stress response.

The authors D. Kuzuoglu-Ozturk and O. Cebeci Yalcinkaya are equally contributed to this work.