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Heterologous Expression of Arabidopsis rty Enhances Drought Tolerance in Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.)
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  • Maofu Li,
  • Yuan Yang,
  • Ali Raza,
  • Shanshan Yin,
  • Hua Wang,
  • Yuntao Zhang,
  • Jing Dong,
  • Guixia Wang,
  • Chuanfei Zhong,
  • Hong Zhang,
  • Jiashen Liu,
  • Wanmei Jin
Maofu Li
Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences
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Yuan Yang
Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences
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Ali Raza
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
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Shanshan Yin
Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences
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Hua Wang
Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences
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Yuntao Zhang
Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences
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Jing Dong
Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences
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Guixia Wang
Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences
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Chuanfei Zhong
Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences
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Hong Zhang
Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences
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Jiashen Liu
Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences
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Wanmei Jin
Beijing Academy of Forestry and Pomology Sciences
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Abstract

Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) is an important fruit crop worldwide. Mutation of Arabidopsis thaliana ROOTY (RTY) results in increased endogenous auxin levels and root and shoot growth, but the effects of this gene in strawberry remain unclear. Here, we heterologously expressed Arabidopsis rty in strawberry plants and examined the effects of rty expression on the hormonal and physiological properties of the plants. Heterologous expression of rty induced IAA accumulation and increased the production of adventitious roots as well as trichomes on the abaxial leaf surface of the transgenic plants. Furthermore, the transgenic strawberry plants had increased ABA accumulation and stomatal closure. The transgenic strawberry plants exhibited enhanced water use efficiency and a reduced water loss rate. Additionally, peroxidase and catalase activities were significantly higher in the transgenic plants than in the untransformed controls, and the transgenic plants were more drought tolerant than the wild-type plants. Our results suggest that transgenic approaches can be used to overcome the inherent trade-off between plant growth and drought tolerance by enhancing water use efficiency and reducing water loss rate under water shortage conditions. This study provides the basis for future genetic modifications of strawberry to improve drought tolerance.