OsACA6, a P-type IIB Ca2+ATPase promotes salinity and drought stress tolerance in tobacco by ROS scavenging and enhancing the expression of stress-responsive genes



Calcium (Ca2+) regulates several signalling pathways involved in growth, development and stress tolerance. Cellular Ca2+ homeostasis is achieved by the combined action of channels, pumps and antiporters, but direct evidence for a role of Ca2+ATPase pumps in stress tolerance is lacking. Here we report the characterization of a Ca2+ATPase gene (OsACA6) from Oryza sativa, and elucidate its functions in stress tolerance. OsACA6 transcript levels are enhanced in response to salt, drought, abscisic acid and heat. In vivo localization identified plasma membranes as an integration site for the OsACA6–GFP fusion protein. Using transgenic tobacco lines, we demonstrate that over-expression of OsACA6 is triggered during salinity and drought stresses. The enhanced tolerance to these stresses was confirmed by changes in several physiological indices, including water loss rate, photosynthetic efficiency, cell membrane stability, germination, survival rate, malondialdehyde content, electrolyte leakage and increased proline accumulation. Furthermore, over-expressing lines also showed higher leaf chlorophyll and reduced accumulation of H2O2 and Na+ ions compared to the wild-type. Reduced accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was observed in transgenic lines. The increased proline accumulation and ROS scavenging enzyme activities in transgenic plants over-expressing OsACA6 efficiently modulate the ROS machinery and proline biosynthesis through an integrative mechanism. Transcriptional profiling of these plants revealed altered expression of genes encoding many transcription factors, stress- and disease-related proteins, as well as signalling components. These results suggest that Ca2+ATPases have diverse roles as regulators of many stress signalling pathways, leading to plant growth, development and stress tolerance.