Sugarcane is one of t he most important crop plants on the world. Among the various stresses that affect agricultural productivity, drought is the most limiting factor for plant growth. Thus, the development of new sugarcane cultivars that are tolerant to drought becomes an important focus of research. From microarray expression data, 93 genes of sugarcane were identified as differentially expressed under drought conditions. The gene that encodes a polypeptide with similarity to the ² subunit of ATP synthase was selected and its role under abiotic stresses has been studied in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). Overexpression of this gene conferred tolerance to drought and salt stresses in transgenic tobacco. Considering the previous work done by our group, and the literature as regards on the possible role of the ATP synthase in increase tolerance to abiotic stresses, the goal of this work is to perform a functional study of the sugarcane gene that encodes the ATP synthase ² subunit, by sugarcane transgenic plants overexpressing this gene and analyze the responses of these plants when subjected to periods of drought.
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