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Response of Oryzacystatin I Transformed Tobacco Plants to Drought, Heat and Light Stress


K. N. Demirevska
Institute of Plant Physiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia 1113, Acad. G. Bonchev Str. Bldg 21, Sofia, Bulgaria
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Transformed tobacco plants expressing a rice cysteine proteinase inhibitor (OC-I) and non-transformed plants were grown in a controlled environment and subjected to various stresses. Two-month-old transformed and non-transformed plants were exposed for 5 days to drought conditions by withholding watering. High temperature (40 °C) was applied additionally at day 6th for 5 h either individually or in combination with drought. All stress treatments were applied under low (150 μmol m−2 s−1 PPFD) and high light intensity (HL) of 1000 μmol m−2 s−1 PPFD to determine if OC-I expression might provide protection under combination of stresses usually existing in nature. Drought stress led to diminution in leaf relative water content, photosynthesis inhibition, decrease in chlorophyll content and accumulation of malondialdehyde and proline. Heat stress alone did not affect the plants significantly, but intensified the effect of drought stress. HL intensity further increased the proline content. OC-I transformed plants grown under low light intensity had significantly higher total superoxide dismutase and guaiacol peroxidase activities as well as their isoforms than non-transformed control plants under non-stress and stress conditions. Catalase activity was not highly affected by OC-I expression. Results indicate that OC-I expression in tobacco plants provides protection of the antioxidative enzymes superoxide dismutase and guaiacol peroxidise under both non-stress and stress conditions.