The aim of this research is to study the effects of salt stress during different stages of development in transgenic tomato plants overexpressing the apple spermidine synthase gene (MdSPDS1) compared to wild type (WT) plants. Under salt treatment (100 and 150 mM NaCl), tomato plants clearly displayed several stress symptoms such as impaired seedling growth, decreased chlorophyll content, reduction in fruit yield and increased electrolyte leakage (EL) in leaves. These changes were more prominent in WT plants compared to MdSPDS1 transgenic plants which accumulate significantly more polyamines, namely spermine and spermidine. The response of ascorbate peroxidase (APX) isoenzymes in tomato leaves under saline conditions was also investigated. The transcript levels of SlApx genes were significantly up regulated under 100 mM NaCl either in wild type or in transgenic plants. Under 150 mM NaCl, only transgenic plants were capable to maintain high expression of SlApx genes, whereas in WT plants the expression declined after one month treatment. As a consequence, APX activity was significantly higher in MdSPDS1 transgenic plants compared to WT under saline conditions. These results suggest that elevated APX activity might contribute largely to the protection against oxidative stress generated by NaCl treatments and thus confer salinity tolerance in tomato overexpressing MdSPDS1.
2011 by Japanese Society for Plant Cell and Molecular Biology