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EukaResist - Enhanced stress tolerance & increased harvest yield by iso-enzyme replacement

Method for enhancement of general stress resistance, based on improved reductant supply (NADPH) in the cytosol via Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH).

- G6PDH-isoenzyme replacement resulted in highly uniform defense responses, enhanced drought tolerance and accel-erated flowering. Challenge Worldwide every year billions of US dollars worth of harvest are lost due to biotic (pathogens) and abiotic (drought, heat or salt) stress. Stress responses consume a lot of energy and thus constantly challenge plant performance. The prob-lem of elite lines with high yield in commercial crops is often compromised stress resistance due to intensive breeding.

Solution As proof-of-principle, we engineered susceptible tobacco plants for enhanced stress tolerance that rely on effective extra-cellular oxidative bursts (i.e. free radical production by NADPH oxidases at the plasma membrane). Free-radical mediated responses, and related developmental decisions, did both benefit from improved NADPH provision in the cytosol of the transgenics. We achieved this by substitution of endogenous G6PDH with a specially suited plastidic iso-enzyme. This replacement resulted in highly uniform defense responses, enhanced drought tolerance and accelerated flowering, followed by an increased harvest yield. The find-ings demonstrate that G6PDH activity in the cytosol is a crucial factor for the improvement of plant stress responses in general.

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