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Genetic transformation using CsNF-YA1 transcription factor to obtain citrus with water deficit tolerance

Grant number: 14/25959-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2015
Effective date (End): December 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy
Principal Investigator:Raquel Luciana Boscariol Camargo
Grantee:Maria Julia Franco da Cunha
Host Institution: Instituto Agronômico (IAC). Agência Paulista de Tecnologia dos Agronegócios (APTA). Secretaria de Agricultura e Abastecimento (São Paulo - Estado). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The Brazilian citrus industry is of great importance in the economic and social sectors of the country, both by the significant value of production, such as the generation of direct and indirect jobs. In Brazil citrus growing areas is common to occur water deficit in soil and the use of tolerant rootstocks becomes critical. Biotechnology advances in plant genetic transformation allow minor changes in the genotype, and may incorporate new levels of resistance and tolerance in varieties of commercial interest. Analysis of the structural and functional genome of citrus identified a transcription factor belonging to the NF-Y family (Nuclear Factor Y) that was characterized as CsNF-YA1. This CsNF-YA1 transcription factor had its expression increased in Valencia sweet orange subjected to water restriction. After functional studies in tobacco, CsNF-YA1 transcription factor induced antioxidant mechanisms and provide greater tolerance to dehydration. This study aims to obtain genetically modified plants from Swingle citrumelo and Carrizo citrange rootstocks overexpressing the CsNF-YA1 gene, to increase tolerance to water stress in these varieties. Genetic transformation will be mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens, containing a binary vector with the gene of interest under the control of the constitutive CaMV35S promoter. Transformed explants will be selected in vitro and the new shoots will be assessed through the histochemical GUS test and by PCR. The transgenic plants will be acclimatized in the greenhouse and may subsequently be multiplied and evaluated under water stress conditions.

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