Transgenic Plants Overexpressing Trehalose Biosynthetic Genes and Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants

  • Zsófia BánfalviEmail author


Trehalose, a non-reducing disaccharide consisting of two glucose molecules, has been proposed to play protective role under various abiotic stresses. This protective molecule, however, does not seem to accumulate in sufficient amounts in plants. Therefore, the plants thought to be genetically modified to over-accumulate trehalose, which in turn can provide abiotic stress tolerance to the targeted plant. Numerous such transgenic plants have been raised from various species and tested for cold, heat, salt, and drought tolerance. The first attempts of genetic modification of the trehalose biosynthesis pathway were carried out in tobacco and potato. The modifications involved the introduction of bacterial or yeast genes that encoded the enzymes trehalose-phosphate synthase for trehalose synthesis via trehalose-phosphate. These transgenic plants exhibited higher resistance to stress and an unexpectedly wide range of phenotypic abnormalities indicating the role of trehalose metabolism in the growth and development of plants. Since then, several approaches have been used to enhance drought resistance and to avoid the undesirable morphological effects associated with constitutive expression of the microbial genes. These approaches are summarised in this chapter.


Abiotic stress Metabolites Transcription Transgenic plant Trehalose 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NARIC, Agricultural Biotechnology InstituteGödöllőHungary

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