Image_1_Overexpression of Tobacco GCN2 Stimulates Multiple Physiological Changes Associated With Stress Tolerance.TIF
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General control non-derepressible-2 (GCN2) is a ubiquitous protein kinase that phosphorylates the α subunit of the eukaryotic initiation factor, eIF2, preventing the initiation of a new cycle of protein synthesis, subsequently reducing the global protein biosynthesis. GCN2 can also regulate the response of plants to biotic and abiotic stresses. In this study, two GCN2 homologs, NtGCN2-1 and NtGCN2-2, were cloned from Nicotiana tabacum, and were predicted to have been derived from their progenitors in N. tomentosiformis and N. sylvestris, respectively. The phosphorylation of NteIF2α could be activated by promoting the expression of NtGCN2 with plant hormones, including salicylic acid (SA), azelaic acid (AZA), methyl jasmonate (MeJA), and by imposition of different stresses (Bemisia tabaci infection, drought, and cold), indicating that NtGCN2 is involved in the response of plants to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses. We also observed that the overexpression of NtGCN2-1 significantly influenced different physiological processes. It promoted seed germination and root elongation. The content of total soluble sugars and reducing sugars were decreased, whereas those of chlorophyll a and b were increased in the GCN2 overexpressing plants. In addition, the overexpressing plants had lower content of reactive oxygen species and exhibited higher antioxidant activities. These physiological alterations could be attributed to the changes in the endogenous phytohormones, decrease in the SA and abscisic acid content, and accumulation of MeJA and AZA. It indicated that the overexpression of NtGCN2 in tobacco, stimulated the plant defense responses via phosphorylation of NteIF2α and regulation of plant hormones, and changes in the antioxidant ability and plant nutrient status.
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