Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

PcWRKY11, an II-d WRKY transcription factor from Polygonum cuspidatum, enhances salt tolerance in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana.

Abstract

Being an invasive plant, Polygonum cuspidatum is highly resilient and can survive in unfavorable environments for long periods; however, its molecular mechanisms associated with such environmental resistance are largely unknown. In this study, a WRKY transcription factor (TF) gene, PcWRKY11, was identified from P. cuspidatum by analyzing methyl jasmonate (MeJA)-treated transcriptome data. It showed a high degree of homology with WRKY11 from Arabidopsis thaliana, containing a WRKY domain and a zinc finger structure and II-d WRKY characteristic domains of HARF, a calmodulin-binding domain (C-motif), and a putative nuclear localization signal (NLS) through sequence alignment and functional element mining. qPCR analysis showed that the expression of PcWRKY11 can be induced by NaCl, osmotic stress, and UV-C. In this study, we also found that overexpression of PcWRKY11 in A. thaliana could significantly increase salt tolerance. To explore its possible molecular mechanism, further investigations showed that compared with the wild type (WT), under salt stress, the transgenic plants showed a lower malondialdehyde (MDA) content, higher expression of ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), and higher enzyme activity of peroxidase (POD), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT). Moreover, the transgenic plants also showed higher expression of Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthase (AtP5CS), and higher contents of proline and soluble sugar. Taken together, these results indicate that PcWRKY11 may have a positive role in plants' adaptation to salinity conditions by reducing reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and increasing osmosis substance synthesis.