Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is suitable for growth on marginal lands due
to its abiotic stress tolerance. However, extreme environmental conditions,
including low temperature, significantly affect its productivity. A team of
researchers from Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology,
Korea University of Science and Technology, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural
Science and other research institutions and universities in South Korea
aimed to develop sweet potatoes with enhanced tolerance to temperature
stress using P3 proteins.
P3 proteins act as both protein and RNA chaperones to increase heat and cold
stress tolerance in Arabidopsis. The team generated transgenic sweet potato
plants expressing the Arabidopsis ribosomal P3 (AtP3B). Three lines (OP1,
OP30, and OP32) were then selected based on their AtP3B transcript levels.
The OP plants displayed greater heat tolerance and higher photosynthesis
efficiency than wild type plants. The OP plants also exhibited enhanced low
temperature tolerance, with higher photosynthesis efficiency and less
membrane permeability. While the yields of tuberous roots and aerial parts
of plants did not significantly differ between OP and WT plants, the
tuberous roots of OP transgenic sweet potato showed improved storage ability
under low temperatures.
The OP plants developed in this study exhibited increased tolerance to
temperature stress and enhanced storage ability under low temperature.