Plants, Vol. 10, Pages 2173: Calcium Sensor SlCBL4 Associates with SlCIPK24 Protein Kinase and Mediates Salt Tolerance in Solanum lycopersicum
Plants doi: 10.3390/plants10102173
Joo Hyuk Cho
Soil salinity is one of the major environmental stresses that restrict the growth and development of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) worldwide. In Arabidopsis, the calcium signaling pathway mediated by calcineurin B-like protein 4 (CBL4) and CBL-interacting protein kinase 24 (CIPK24) plays a critical role in salt stress response. In this study, we identified and isolated two tomato genes similar to the Arabidopsis genes, designated as SlCBL4 and SlCIPK24, respectively. Bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) and pull-down assays indicated that SlCBL4 can physically interact with SlCIPK24 at the plasma membrane of plant cells in a Ca2+-dependent manner. Overexpression of SlCBL4 or superactive SlCIPK24 mutant (SlCIPK24M) conferred salt tolerance to transgenic tomato (cv. Moneymaker) plants. In particular, the SlCIPK24M-overexpression lines displayed dramatically enhanced tolerance to high salinity. It is notable that the transgenic plants retained higher contents of Na+ and K+ in the roots compared to the wild-type tomato under salt stress. Taken together, our findings clearly suggest that SlCBL4 and SlCIPK24 are functional orthologs of the Arabidopsis counterpart genes, which can be used or engineered to produce salt-tolerant tomato plants.
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