Molecular Biotechnology

, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 203–214 | Cite as

Xerophyta viscosa Aldose Reductase, XvAld1, Enhances Drought Tolerance in Transgenic Sweetpotato

  • Wilton Mbinda
  • Omwoyo Ombori
  • Christina Dixelius
  • Richard Oduor
Original Paper


Sweetpotato is a significant crop which is widely cultivated particularly in the developing countries with high and stable yield. However, drought stress is a major limiting factor that antagonistically influences the crop’s productivity. Dehydration stress caused by drought causes aggregation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in plants, and aldose reductases are first-line safeguards against ROS caused by oxidative stress. In the present study, we generated transgenic sweetpotato plants expressing aldose reductase, XvAld1 isolated from Xerophyta viscosa under the control of a stress-inducible promoter via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Our results demonstrated that the transgenic sweetpotato lines displayed significant enhanced tolerance to simulated drought stress and enhanced recuperation after rehydration contrasted with wild-type plants. In addition, the transgenic plants exhibited improved photosynthetic efficiency, higher water content and more proline accumulation under dehydration stress conditions compared with wild-type plants. These results demonstrate that exploiting the XvAld1 gene is not only a compelling and attainable way to improve sweetpotato tolerance to drought stresses without causing any phenotypic imperfections but also a promising gene candidate for more extensive crop improvement.


Drought stress Genetic transformation Ipomoea batatas Reactive oxygen species Sweetpotato Xerophyta viscosa 



The authors thank Prof. Jennifer A. Thomson, University of Cape Town, South Africa, for XvAld1 gene and Prof. Christina Dixelius, Department of Plant Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden, for providing the nptII gene. The authors acknowledge the Plant Transformation Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya, and the Department of Plant Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden, for providing the laboratory facilities. This research work was funded by National Council for Science and Technology, Kenya (Grant No. NCST/5/003/3rdSTICALL/109).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wilton Mbinda
    • 1
    • 2
  • Omwoyo Ombori
    • 3
  • Christina Dixelius
    • 4
  • Richard Oduor
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and BiotechnologyPwani UniversityKilifiKenya
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and BiotechnologyKenyatta UniversityNairobiKenya
  3. 3.Department of Plant SciencesKenyatta UniversityNairobiKenya
  4. 4.Department of Plant BiologySwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden

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