Creating drought- and salt-tolerant cotton by overexpressing a vacuolar pyrophosphatase gene

Hong Zhang, Guoxin Shen, Sundaram Kuppu, Roberto Gaxiola, Paxton Payton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Increased expression of an Arabidopsis vacuolar pyrophosphatase gene, AVP1, leads to increased drought and salt tolerance in transgenic plants, which has been demonstrated in laboratory and field conditions. The molecular mechanism of AVP1-mediated drought resistance is likely due to increased proton pump activity of the vacuolar pyrophosphatase, which generates a higher proton electrochemical gradient across the vacuolar membrane, leading to lower water potential in the plant vacuole and higher secondary transporter activities that prevent ion accumulation to toxic levels in the cytoplasm. Additionally, overexpression of AVP1 appears to stimulate auxin polar transport, which in turn stimulates root development. The larger root system allows AVP1-overexpressing plants to absorb water more efficiently under drought and saline conditions, resulting in stress tolerance and increased yields. Multi-year field-trial data indicate that overexpression of AVP1 in cotton leads to at least 20% more fiber yield than wild-type control plants in dry-land conditions, which highlights the potential use of AVP1 in improving drought tolerance in crops in arid and semiarid areas of the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-863
Number of pages3
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Drought tolerance
  • Proton pump
  • Salt tolerance
  • Transgenic cotton
  • Vacuolar membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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