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Title: Ectopic Expression of a Heterologous Glutaredoxin Enhances Drought Tolerance and Grain Yield in Field Grown Maize
Drought stress is a major constraint in global maize production, causing almost 30–90% of the yield loss depending upon growth stage and the degree and duration of the stress. Here, we report that ectopic expression of Arabidopsis glutaredoxin S17 (AtGRXS17) in field grown maize conferred tolerance to drought stress during the reproductive stage, which is the most drought sensitive stage for seed set and, consequently, grain yield. AtGRXS17-expressing maize lines displayed higher seed set in the field, resulting in 2-fold and 1.5-fold increase in yield in comparison to the non-transgenic plants when challenged with drought stress at the tasseling and silking/pollination stages, respectively. AtGRXS17-expressing lines showed higher relative water content, higher chlorophyll content, and less hydrogen peroxide accumulation than wild-type (WT) control plants under drought conditions. AtGRXS17-expressing lines also exhibited at least 2-fold more pollen germination than WT plants under drought stress. Compared to the transgenic maize, WT controls accumulated higher amount of proline, indicating that WT plants were more stressed over the same period. The results present a robust and simple strategy for meeting rising yield demands in maize under water limiting conditions.
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International Journal of Molecular Sciences
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National Science Foundation
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