Comparative physiological responses of the yeast halotolerance genes expressed in transgenic lines of tomato cv Rio Grande under saline conditions
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We previously analyzed the transgenic lines of tomato cv Rio Grande over-expressing the yeast HAL I and HAL II genes for their response to salt stress under in vitro conditions. In this study, six homozygous tomato lines harbouring the yeast HAL I or HAL II genes with highest expression level were selected for exploring their physiological responses against different salt stresses in the field. These transgenic plants showed significant growth and improved water content in comparison with control under 100 and 150 mM salt stress conditions. The HAL I and HAL II lines showed better Ca2+ content than their control counterparts. Furthermore, the transgenic lines exhibited lower values of relative electrical conductivity and improved resistance against the fungal pathogens Fusarium oxysporum and Alternaria solani when tested by detached leaf and agar tube dilution assays. Physiological analyses carried out in this study suggest an involvement of multiple mechanisms in transgenic tomato plants harbouring yeast genes to confer biotic and abiotic tolerance under stress conditions.