Transgenic mannitol-producing (+mtlD) and wild type (-mtlD) tobacco plants were exposed to water deficit to test whether mannitol is involved in drought stress protection. Rooted cuttings of -mtlD and +mtlD plants were fully irrigated (100% ET) or received 25% ET for 40 days, followed by 20 days of re-watering. Water deficit reduced RWC of both plant types starting on the 22nd day, total stem length of -mtlD 25% ET already after 11 days, whereas that of +mtlD 25% ET only after 34 days. After 30 days of deficit, a greater percentage of mature foliage was retained by +mtlD 25% ET compared to -mtlD 25% ET. Mannitol-1-phosphate dehydrogenase activity of +mtlD plants was not affected by water deficit. The presence of mannitol in transgenic tobacco seems to provide some tolerance to water deficit, especially in terms of delaying growth reductions. However, the amount of mannitol produced by +mtlD plants did not allow for significant osmotic protection, whereas it may provide a specific system for protecting cells from free radical-induced damage.
|Number of pages||2|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|