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Alteration of leaf shape, improved metal tolerance, and productivity of seed by overexpression of CsHMA3 in Camelina sativa
Won Park, Yufeng Feng and Sung-Ju Ahn
BACKGROUND: Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz, known by such popular names as "gold-of-pleasure" and "false flax," is an alternative oilseed crop for biofuel production and can be grown in harsh environments. Considerable interest is now being given to the new concept of the development of a fusion plant which can be used as a soil remediation plant for ground contaminated by heavy metals as well as a bioenergy crop. However, knowledge of the transport processes for heavy metals across Camelina plant membranes is still rudimentary.
Firstly, to investigate whether Camelina HMA (heavy metal P1B-ATPase) genes could be used in such a plant, we analyzed the expression patterns of eight HMA genes in Camelina (taken from the root, leaf, stem, flower, and silique). CsHMA3 genes were expressed in all organs. In addition, CsHMA3 was induced in roots and leaves especially after Pb treatment. Heterogeneous expression of CsHMA3 complemented the Pb- or Zn-sensitive phenotype of Δycf1 or Δzrc1 yeast mutant strains. Subsequently, we cloned and overexpressed CsHMA3 in Camelina. The root growth of transgenic lines was better than that in the wild-type plant under heavy metal stress (for Cd, Pb, and Zn). In particular, the transgenic lines showed enhanced Pb tolerance in a wide range of Pb concentrations. Furthermore, the Pb and Zn content in the shoots of the transgenic lines were higher than those in the wild-type plant. These results suggest that overexpression of CsHMA3 might enhance Pb and Zn tolerance and translocation. Also, the transgenic lines displayed a wider leaf shape compared with the wild-type plant due to an induction of genes related to leaf width growth and showed a greater total seed yield compared to the wild type under heavy metal stress.
Our data obtained from physiological and functional analyses using CsHMA3 overexpression plants will be useful to develop a multifunctional plant that can improve the productivity of a bioenergy crop and simultaneously be used to purify an area contaminated by various heavy metals.