Phospholipase D, a major lipid-degrading enzyme in plants, was studied in two cultivars of Vigna unguiculata L.Walp, differing in their tolerance to drought (cv. EPACE-1, drought-tolerant, and cv. 1183, drought-susceptible). Enzymatic activities, measured with 14C-PC as substrate, increased when plants were submitted to water stress, the increase being much higher in the drought-sensitive cultivar. A 2911 bp cDNA encoding a putative phospholipase D (VuPLD1) was isolated from a cDNA library prepared from V. unguiculata leaves. The deduced amino acid sequence (809 residues) shows 85.5% identity and 91.3% similarity to that of PLD from Ricinus communis. The expression of the VuPLD1 gene in the leaves is differently modulated by water deficit, depending on the intensity of stress and the tolerance or sensitivity of the plants. In the drought-susceptible V. unguiculata cv. 1183, it readily increased under water stress, reaching maximum values at mild water deficit (−1.5 MPa). In the drought-tolerant cv. EPACE-1, VuPLD1 mRNA remained low throughout the whole drought treatment. Dehydration of leaves led to a dramatic increase in transcript level in both cultivars. Changes in protein amounts semi-quantified by immunoblotting correlated well with variations in transcript steady-state level. Taken together, these results showed that phospholipase D in cowpea plants is essentially regulated at the transcriptional level, and that gene expression is strongly stimulated even by moderate water deficit in the drought-sensitive plant. On the contrary, the drought-tolerant plant presents a remarkable stability of PLD gene expression in conditions of water stress.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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