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MsSAMS, a cold stress-responsive gene, provides resistance to environmental stress in T2-generation transgenic plants

Abstract

The SAMS (S-adenosylmethionine synthetase) gene is known to play an important role in the mechanism of cold resistance, as overexpression of this gene results in phenotypic changes in T1-generation transgenic plants. Accordingly, this study was conducted to test the expression of the MsSAMS gene in T2-generation transgenic plants and to investigate the resistance of these plants and the function of the transgene in response to various environmental stresses. For the morphological analysis of T2-generation transgenic plants overexpressing the MsSAMS gene, observations using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were performed. T2-generation transgenic plants were obtained by planting a total of 5 lines, and their characteristics were tested by comparisons with those of the control. SEM revealed that the thickest leaves were produced by the T6 transgenic line—161.24 ± 8.05 µm. The number of stomata ranged from 20.00 ± 2.65 to 34.00 ± 1.00 in the T2-generation transgenic plants, but the control had more stomata. Resistance to various factors, such as low temperature, drought, and oxidative stress, in the T2-generation transgenic plants was also confirmed. Under cold-stress conditions, the T6 transgenic line presented the lowest value (22.73%) of ion leakage, and under drought-stress conditions, compared with the control, the transgenic lines presented lower ion leakage after being treated with various concentrations of mannitol. Even under oxidative-stress conditions, the T2-generation transgenic plants presented ion leakage levels that were 32.91 ± 4.24 to 48.33 ± 3.54% lower than those of the control after treatment with various concentrations of methyl viologen. Regarding SAMS enzyme activity, as the duration of cold treatment increased, the activity in the transgenic plants tended to decrease and then increase. During 48 h of cold treatment, the control showed a decrease in SAM content, while the T2-generation transgenic plants presented an increase in SAM content, from 13.58 ± 1.04 to 22.75 ± 1.95 mg protein/g FW. The results suggest that the MsSAMS gene may be important to the mechanisms of resistance to oxidative and drought stresses in addition to its previously known association with cold resistance. Based on these results, it was suggested that the MsSAMS gene, whose expression is induced by cold stress, can serve as a marker of various responses to environmental stresses, because resistance to cold damage and various environmental stresses are stably inherited in the T2 generation.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Bioherb Research Institute, Kangwon National University, Republic of Korea.

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Contributed to the experiments (HLC); Assisted with the experiments (JWS, MHH); Analyzed and interpretated the data (CYY); performed the experiment and wrote the paper (ESS).

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Correspondence to Eun Soo Seong.

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Choi, H.L., Seo, J.W., Hwang, M.H. et al. MsSAMS, a cold stress-responsive gene, provides resistance to environmental stress in T2-generation transgenic plants. Transgenic Res 31, 381–389 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11248-022-00307-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11248-022-00307-9

Keywords

  • MsSAMS
  • T2-generation transgenic plants
  • Cold stress
  • Drought stress
  • Oxidative stress