Alkaline/neutral invertase (A/N-INV), an enzyme that hydrolyzes sucrose irreversibly into glucose and fructose, is essential for normal plant growth,development, and stress tolerance. However, the physiological and/or molecular mechanism underpinning the role of A/N-INV in abiotic stress tolerance is poorly understood.
In this report, an A/N-INV gene (PtrA/NINV) was isolated from Poncirus trifoliata, a cold-hardy relative of citrus, and functionally characterized. PtrA/NINV expression levels were induced by cold, salt, dehydration, sucrose, and ABA, but decreased by glucose. PtrA/NINV was found to localize in both chloroplasts and mitochondria. Overexpression of PtrA/NINV conferred enhanced tolerance to multiple stresses, including cold, high salinity, and drought, as supported by lower levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), reduced oxidative damages, decreased water loss rate, and increased photosynthesis efficiency, relative to wild-type (WT). The transgenic plants exhibited higher A/N-INV activity and greater reducing sugar content under normal and stress conditions.
PtrA/NINV is an important gene implicated in sucrose decomposition, and plays a positive role in abiotic stress tolerance by promoting osmotic adjustment, ROS detoxification and photosynthesis efficiency. Thus, PtrA/NINV has great potential to be used in transgenic breeding for improvement of stress tolerance.