The date palm (Khalas) is an extremophile plant that can adapt to various abiotic stresses including drought and salinity. Salinity tolerance is a complex trait controlled by numerous genes. Identification and functional characterization of salt-responsive genes from the date palm is fundamental to understand salinity tolerance at the molecular level in this plant species. In this study, a salt-inducible vascular highway 1-interacting kinase (PdVIK) that is a MAP kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK) gene from the date palm, was functionally characterized using in vitro and in vivo strategies. PdVIK, one of the 597 kinases encoded by the date palm genome possesses an ankyrin repeat domain and a kinase domain. The recombinant PdVIK protein exhibited phosphotyrosine activity against myelin basic protein (MBP) substrate. Overexpression of PdVIK in yeast significantly improved its tolerance to salinity, LiCl, and oxidative stresses. Transgenic Arabidopsis seedlings overexpressing PdVIK displayed improved tolerance to salinity, osmotic, and oxidative stresses as assessed by root growth assay. The transgenic lines grown in the soil also displayed modulated salt response, compared to wild-type controls as evaluated by the overall plant growth and proline levels. Likewise, the transgenic lines exhibited drought tolerance by maintaining better relative water content (RWC) compared to non-transgenic control plants. Collectively, these results implicate the involvement of PdVIK in modulating the abiotic stress response of the date palm.
- Abiotic stress
- Date palm
- Vascular highway 1-interacting kinase
ASJC Scopus subject areas