Research press release


Nature Communications

Plant sciences: Boosting crop water-use efficiency



今回、Stephen Longたちの研究グループは、光合成に関与するphotosystem II subunit S(PsbS)タンパク質の発現上昇によって、二酸化炭素の取り込みに負の影響を及ぼさずに水利用効率を高められることを明らかにした。圃場試験では、PsbSを過剰発現するタバコは、野生型のタバコと比べて、水の喪失量が平均で25%減った。Longたちは、PsbSの過剰発現によって生じる一連の事象によって光に応答した気孔の開口が減り、結果として水の喪失が減ると考えている。


Increasing expression of a protein involved in photosynthesis in tobacco can reduce the amount of water the plants lose by 25%, according to a study in Nature Communications. The findings could have implications for increasing crop production with limited water supplies.

Drought is a global problem and producing enough food to feed the increasing world population with less irrigation water is increasingly important. Plants lose absorbed water through pores in leaves called stomata, which allow carbon dioxide (CO2) to enter for photosynthesis. Thus, balancing water loss and CO2 acquisition holds the potential to increase crop water-use efficiency. However, limited advances have been made so far.

Stephen Long and colleagues show that upregulating the expression of a protein called photosystem II subunit S (PsbS), involved in photosynthesis, can increase water-use efficiency without having a negative effect on the uptake of CO2. In field trials, tobacco plants that overexpressed PsbS lost on average 25% less water than wild-type plants. The authors suggest that overexpression of PsbS causes a chain of events leading to a reduction in stomatal opening in response to light and, consequently, decreases water loss.

Since the role of PsbS is universal across green plants, the authors argue that it is likely the strategy developed here can be applied to other crop species to improve water-use efficiency.

doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03231-x

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