Jatropha has potential to be an important bio-fuel crop due to such advantages as high seed oil content and the ability to grow well on marginal lands less suited for food crops. Despite its ability to grow on marginal land, Jatropha is still susceptible to high salt and drought stresses, which can significantly reduce plant growth, stomatal conductance, sap-flow rate, and plant sap volume. This study was undertaken to collect basic knowledge of the physiological and molecular aspects of Jatropha response to salt and drought stresses, and to elucidate how Jatropha recovers from stress. From these studies we identified candidate genes that may be useful for the development of Jatropha cultivars that will grow efficiently in arid and barren lands. Of particular interest, two plasma membrane intrinsic proteins were identified: Jatropha plasma membrane intrinsic protein 1 (JcPIP1) and Jatropha plasma membrane intrinsic protein 2 (JcPIP2). The expression levels of JcPIP1 were dramatically increased in roots, stems, and leaves during the recovery from stress, whereas the JcPIP2 gene transcripts levels were induced in roots and stems during the water deficit stress. The protein levels of JcPIP1 and JcPIP2 were consistent with the gene expression patterns. Based on these results, we hypothesized that JcPIP1 plays a role in the recovery events from water stresses, while JcPIP2 is important in early responses to water stress. Virus induced gene silencing technology revealed that both JcPIP1 and JcPIP2 have positive roles in response to water deficit stresses, but have antagonistic functions at the recovery stage. We suggest that both JcPIP1 and JcPIP2 may play important roles in responses to water deficit conditions and both have potential as targets for genetic engineering.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science