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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2019, Vol. 18 Issue (7): 1579-1586    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(19)62621-3
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Downregulation of SL-ZH13 transcription factor gene expression decreases drought tolerance of tomato
ZHAO Ting-ting1, WANG Zi-yu1, BAO Yu-fang1, ZHANG Xiao-chun1, YANG Huan-huan1, ZHANG Dong-ye1, JIANG Jing-bin1, ZHANG He1, LI Jing-fu1, CHEN Qing-shan2, XU Xiang-yang  
1 Laboratory of Genetic Breeding in Tomato, College of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150030, P.R.China
2 College of Agronomy, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150030, P.R.China
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Zinc finger-homeodomain proteins (ZF-HDs) are transcription factors that regulate plant growth, development, and abiotic stress tolerance.  The SL-ZH13 gene was found to be significantly upregulated under drought stress treatment in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) leaves in our previous study.  In this study, to further understand the role that the SL-ZH13 gene plays in the response of tomato plants to drought stress, the virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) method was applied to downregulate SL-ZH13 expression in tomato plants, and these plants were treated with drought stress to analyze the changes in drought tolerance.  The SL-ZH13 silencing efficiency was confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis.  In SL-ZH13-silenced plants, the stems wilted faster, leaf shrinkage was more severe than in control plants under the same drought stress treatment conditions, anyd the mean stem bending angle of SL-ZH13-silenced plants was smaller than that of control plants.  Physiological analyses showed that the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD) and the content of proline (Pro) in SL-ZH13-silenced plants were lower than those in control plants after 1.5 and 3 h of drought stress treatment.  The malondialdehyde (MDA) content in SL-ZH13-silenced plants was higher than that in control plants after 1.5 and 3 h of drought stress treatment, and H2O2 and O2-· accumulated much more in the leaves of SL-ZH13-silenced plants than in the leaves of control plants.  These results suggested that silencing the SL-ZH13 gene affected the response of tomato plants to drought stress and decreased the drought tolerance of tomato plants. 
Keywords:  SL-ZH13 gene        VIGS        drought stress        tomato        transcription factor  
Received: 30 August 2018   Online: 25 December 2018   Accepted:
Fund: This research was supported by the earmarked fund for China Agriculture Research System (CARS-25-A-15), the Breeding of New Staple Vegetable Varieties of Heilongjiang Province, China (GA15B103), the Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province, China (C2017024), the Youth Talent Support Program of Northeast Agricultural University, China (17QC07) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31501777).
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence XU Xiang-yang, E-mail:; CHEN Qing-shan, E-mail:   
About author:  ZHAO Ting-ting, E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

ZHAO Ting-ting, WANG Zi-yu, BAO Yu-fang, ZHANG Xiao-chun, YANG Huan-huan, ZHANG Dong-ye, JIANG Jing-bin, ZHANG He, LI Jing-fu, CHEN Qing-shan, XU Xiang-yang. 2019. Downregulation of SL-ZH13 transcription factor gene expression decreases drought tolerance of tomato. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 18(7): 1579-1586.

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