Rice plants expressing the moss sodium pumping ATPase PpENA1 maintain greater biomass production under salt stress

Andrew Jacobs*, Kristina Ford, Jodie Kretschmer, Mark Tester

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


High cytosolic concentrations of Na + inhibit plant growth and development. To maintain low cytosolic concentrations of Na +, higher plants use membrane-bound transporters that drive the efflux of Na + or partition Na + ions from the cytosol, either to the extracellular compartment or into the vacuole. Bryophytes also use an energy-dependent Na + pumping ATPase, not found in higher plants, to efflux Na +. To investigate whether this transporter can increase the salt tolerance of crop plants, Oryza sativa has been transformed with the Physcomitrella patens Na + pumping ATPase (PpENA1). When grown in solutions containing 50mm NaCl, plants constitutively expressing the PpENA1 gene are more salt tolerant and produce greater biomass than controls. Transgenics and controls accumulate similar amounts of Na + in leaf and root tissues under stress, which indicates that the observed tolerance is not because of Na + exclusion. Moreover, inductively coupled plasma analysis reveals that the concentration of other ions in the transformants and the controls is similar. The transgenic lines are developmentally normal and fertile, and the transgene expression levels remain stable in subsequent generations. GFP reporter fusions, which do not alter the ability of PpENA1 to complement a salt-sensitive yeast mutant, indicate that when it is expressed in plant tissues, the PpENA1 protein is located in the plasma membrane. PpENA1 peptides are found in plasma membrane fractions supporting the plasma membrane targeting. The results of this study demonstrate the utility of PpENA1 as a potential tool for engineering salinity tolerance in important crop species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-847
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Abiotic stress
  • Physcomitrella
  • Rice
  • Salinity
  • Sodium pumping ATPase
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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