Article

Molecular Breeding

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 201-211

Improved watermelon quality using bottle gourd rootstock expressing a Ca2+/H+ antiporter

  • Jeung-Sul HanAffiliated withDepartment of Ecological Environment Conservation, Kyungpook National University
  • , Sunghun ParkAffiliated withDepartment of Horticulture, Forestry & Recreation Resources (HFRR) 2021 Throckmorton Plant Science Center, Kansas State University
  • , Toshiro ShigakiAffiliated withBaylor College of Medicine, Departments of Pediatrics, and Human and Molecular Genetics, USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center
  • , Kendal D. HirschiAffiliated withBaylor College of Medicine, Departments of Pediatrics, and Human and Molecular Genetics, USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center
  • , Chang Kil KimAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Horticulture, Kyungpook National University Email author 

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Abstract

Bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria Standl.) has been commonly used as a source of rootstock for watermelon. To improve its performance as a rootstock without adverse effects on the scion, the bottle gourd was genetically engineered using a modified Arabidopsis Ca2+/H+ exchanger sCAX2B. This transporter provides enhanced Ca2+ substrate specificity and decreased Mn2+ transport capability. Our previous work demonstrated that sCAX2B bottle gourds were more robust and nutrient dense than controls. Here, several cucurbit crops were test-grafted onto the transgenic bottle gourd to determine its effect on the scions. The grafted watermelons and melons onto the transgenic rootstocks appeared to show more robust growth than the controls 35 days after greenhouse transplanting. Watermelon fruits with the watermelon/transgenic bottle gourd (scion/rootstock) combination demonstrated higher osmotic pressure and more soluble solids than controls. These results suggest that sCAX2B expression in the bottle gourd rootstock facilitates improved watermelon quality through the translocation of nutrients and/or water toward enhancing the biomass of scion.

Keywords

Bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria Standl.) Calcium Grafting Transformation Transport Rootstock Watermelon