Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.523, No.2, 416-422, 2020
Overexpression of a pectin methylesterase gene PtoPME35 from Populus tomentosa influences stomatal function and drought tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana
Poplar is a superior forestation species with high adaptability. The woody tissue of poplar is mainly derived from cell wall. Cell wall formation determines cell shape and woody growth. Pectin is rich in primary cell wall, but it is also involved in the regulation of wood formation. In our study, we cloned a gene from poplar (Populus tomentos), designed as PtoPME35, which encodes a putative pectin methylesterase. PtoPME35 has higher sequence similarity with Arabidopsis AtPME35. Gene expression analysis shows that PtoPME35 has a constitutive expression pattern in multiple tissues, with the highest expression in stem. Subcellular localization result indicates that PtoPME35 is localized to the cell wall. To elucidate the biological function of PtoPME35 in vivo, we generated overexpression plants in poplar and Arabidopsis. The degree of pectin methylesterification is decreased in PtoPME35-overexpressing transgenic poplar, although no obvious phenotypes were displayed. In PtoPME35-overexpressing Arabidopsis plants, stomatal opening is inhibited and water loss rate is decreased under the drought condition. Moreover, the expression levels of drought-stress responsive genes were higher with mannitol treatment in PtoPME35-overexpressing Arabidopsis plants than in wild type controls. Accordingly, these results suggest that PtoPME35 may regulate osmotic stress responses by modulating stomatal functions. (C) 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.