Salinity is a major factor limiting agricultural production worldwide.
Glycine betaine (GB) is an osmoprotectant that protects plants from
environmental stresses. Jiuling Song, a scientist from Shandong University
in China, led a team of researchers to develop transgenic cotton expressing
both ApGSMT2g and ApDMT2g via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation.
Expression of both ApGSMT2g and ApDMT2g in cotton resulted in higher salt
tolerance and more vigorous plant growth as characterized by higher GB
amounts, higher relative water content (RWC), and lower osmotic potential
under salt stress compared to wildtypes. Furthermore, co-expressing the two
genes led to greater photosynthesis capacity, improvement of plant growth,
and increases in cotton seed yield compared to wildtypes under salt stress.
These results indicate that ApGSMT2g and ApDMT2g confer higher salt
tolerance and more seed yield to cotton plants under saline conditions.