Molecular Biotechnology

, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 475–488 | Cite as

Introduction of Pea DNA Helicase 45 into Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. Hybrid) Enhances Cell Membrane Thermostability and Upregulation of Stress-Responsive Genes Leads to Abiotic Stress Tolerance

  • Sruthy Maria Augustine
  • J. Ashwin Narayan
  • Divya P. Syamaladevi
  • C. Appunu
  • M. Chakravarthi
  • V. Ravichandran
  • Narendra Tuteja
  • N. SubramonianEmail author


DNA helicases are motor proteins that play an essential role in nucleic acid metabolism, by providing a duplex-unwinding function. To improve the drought and salinity tolerance of sugarcane, a DEAD-box helicase gene isolated from pea with a constitutive promoter, Port Ubi 2.3 was transformed into the commercial sugarcane variety Co 86032 through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, and the transgenics were screened for tolerance to soil moisture stress and salinity. The transgene integration was confirmed through polymerase chain reaction, and the V 0 transgenic events showed significantly higher cell membrane thermostability under normal irrigated conditions. The V 1 transgenic events were screened for tolerance to soil moisture stress and exhibited significantly higher cell membrane thermostability, transgene expression, relative water content, gas exchange parameters, chlorophyll content, and photosynthetic efficiency under soil moisture stress compared to wild-type (WT). The overexpression of PDH45 transgenic sugarcane also led to the upregulation of DREB2-induced downstream stress-related genes. The transgenic events demonstrated higher germination ability and better chlorophyll retention than WT under salinity stress. Our results suggest the possibility for development of increased abiotic stress tolerant sugarcane cultivars through overexpression of PDH45 gene. Perhaps this is the first report, which provides evidence for increased drought and salinity tolerance in sugarcane through overexpression of PDH45.


Sugarcane Transformation PDH45 Drought tolerance Salinity tolerance Cell membrane thermostability 



This work was supported by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) (Grant No. 102/IFD/SAN/325/2013-2014), Government of India.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12033_2015_9841_MOESM1_ESM.docx (26 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sruthy Maria Augustine
    • 1
  • J. Ashwin Narayan
    • 1
  • Divya P. Syamaladevi
    • 2
  • C. Appunu
    • 1
  • M. Chakravarthi
    • 1
  • V. Ravichandran
    • 3
  • Narendra Tuteja
    • 4
  • N. Subramonian
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Sugarcane Breeding Institute (ICAR)Tamil NaduIndia
  2. 2.Indian Grass and Fodder Research Institute Regional StationAvikanagarIndia
  3. 3.Department of RiceTamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityCoimbatoreIndia
  4. 4.International Centre for Genetic Engineering and BiotechnologyNew DelhiIndia

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