The trihelix transcription factor family plays important roles in plant morphological development and adaptation to abiotic stresses. Huazhong Agricultural University researchers, led by Chuying Yu have isolated a cold-induced gene, ShCIGT, from the wild tomato Solanum habrochaites. The team aims to study its role in abiotic stress tolerance.
ShCIGT was found to be expressed in various plant tissues. Its expression is induced by multiple abiotic stresses as well as abscisic acid (ABA). Overexpression of ShCIGT in the cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) enhanced its cold and drought stress tolerance.
Further analysis found that the ShCIGT protein interacts with SnRK1, an energy sensor in the metabolic signaling network, which controls plant metabolism, growth and development, and stress tolerance.
Based on these data, the team concluded that ShCIGT may be of potential use to improve abiotic-stress tolerance in tomato.