In the current scenario of climate change and increasing water scarcity there is an increased need to combine research efforts for the development of abiotic stress resistant crops, specifically plants able to support water deficit (WD). Polyamines (PAs) have been described as being involved in the regulation of many physiological processes and a variety of stress responses in plants. Arginine decarboxylase (ADC) is considered a key enzyme of the polyamine (PA) biosynthetic pathway. In this study, a T2 transgenic homozygous line of Medicago truncatula expressing the oat Adc under the control of CaMV 35S was obtained and was shown to have higher leaf accumulation of putrescine, spermidine and norspermidine compared to wild type plants. The photosynthetic parameters, leaf internal CO2 concentration (Ci), net CO2 assimilation rate (A), transpiration (E) and stomatal conductance (gs) of transformed and untransformed lines during WD and water deficit recovery experiments were measured by IRGA (infrared gas analyzer) and compared over time. Two light intensities were used, growth light intensity (391 μmol m−2 s−1) and saturating light intensity (1044 μmol m−2 s−1). Independently of the light intensity, and under WD, the transgenic line stood out with increased Ci, A, E and gs; suggesting a possible benefit of the augmented PAs under such disturbing environmental conditions. We showed that the constitutive expression of the oat Adc gene improve the physiological responses to WD and that WD recovered transgenic plants had higher seed yield, suggesting a possible benefit of PA metabolism manipulation in legumes.
- Abiotic stress
- Engineering polyamine accumulation
- Physiological responses
- Seed yield