Expression of Arabidopsis Bax Inhibitor-1 in transgenic sugarcane confers drought tolerance

Daniel Alves Ramiro, Danila Montewka Melotto-Passarin, Mariana de Almeida Barbosa, Flavio Dos Santos, Sergio Gregorio Perez Gomez, Nelson Sidnei Massola Júnior, Eric Lam, Helaine Carrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The sustainability of global crop production is critically dependent on improving tolerance of crop plants to various types of environmental stress. Thus, identification of genes that confer stress tolerance in crops has become a top priority especially in view of expected changes in global climatic patterns. Drought stress is one of the abiotic stresses that can result in dramatic loss of crop productivity. In this work, we show that transgenic expression of a highly conserved cell death suppressor, Bax Inhibitor-1 from Arabidopsis thaliana (AtBI-1), can confer increased tolerance of sugarcane plants to long-term (>20 days) water stress conditions. This robust trait is correlated with an increased tolerance of the transgenic sugarcane plants, especially in the roots, to induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress by the protein glycosylation inhibitor tunicamycin. Our findings suggest that suppression of ER stress in C4 grasses, which include important crops such as sorghum and maize, can be an effective means of conferring improved tolerance to long-term water deficit. This result could potentially lead to improved resilience and yield of major crops in the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1826-1837
Number of pages12
JournalPlant biotechnology journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


  • ER stress
  • PCD
  • Saccharum officinarum
  • antioxidant enzymes
  • photosynthesis
  • tunicamycin

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