, Volume 105, Issue 3, pp 309-316
Date: 29 Oct 2010

Cloning and characterization of an AtNHX2 -like Na+ /H+ antiporter gene from Ammopiptanthus mongolicus (Leguminosae) and its ectopic expression enhanced drought and salt tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana

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An orthologue of the vacuolar Na+/H+ antiporter gene, AmNHX2, was isolated from a desert plant, Ammopiptanthus mongolicus, by RACE-PCR. It has a total length of 1,986 bp, with an open reading frame of 1,632 bp, encoding a predicted polypeptide of 543 amino acids. Sequence similarity and exon constituent analysis clearly suggested that AmNHX2 encoded an AtNHX2 (an antiporter from Arabidopsis) like vacuolar Na+/H+ antiporter. AmNHX2 could be strongly induced by both drought and salt stress. Heterologous expression in the yeast mutant nhx1 indicated that AmNHX2 was the orthologue of ScNHX1, and the complementation effect was almost the same as AtNHX1. Over-expressing AmNHX2 resulted in enhanced tolerances to both drought and salt stresses in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. The transgenic plants accumulated lower Na+ content in their leaves, showing healthier root system after salt stress, and retained more water during the drought stress. Our work suggested that AmNHX2 was a salt tolerance determinant in A. mongolicus, but might not be a contributor to the difference in salt sensitivity between A. thaliana and A. mongolicus.