Up-regulation of a H+-pyrophosphatase (H+-PPase) as a strategy to engineer drought-resistant crop plants

Sunghun Park, Jisheng Li, Jon K. Pittman, Gerald A. Berkowitz, Haibing Yang, Soledad Undurraga, Jay Morris, Kendal D. Hirschi, Roberto A. Gaxiola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

237 Scopus citations


Engineering drought-resistant crop plants is a critically important objective. Overexpression of the vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase (H +-PPase) AVP1 in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana results in enhanced performance under soil water deficits. Recent work demonstrates that AVP1 plays an important role in root development through the facilitation of auxin fluxes. With the objective of improving crop performance, we expressed AVP1 in a commercial cultivar of tomato. This approach resulted in (i) greater pyrophosphate-driven cation transport into root vacuolar fractions, (ii) increased root biomass, and (iii) enhanced recovery of plants from an episode of soil water deficit stress. More robust root systems allowed transgenic tomato plants to take up greater amounts of water during the imposed water deficit stress, resulting in a more favorable plant water status and less injury. This study documents a general strategy for improving drought resistance of crops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18830-18835
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 27 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Biotechnology
  • Root development
  • Tomato
  • Water deficit stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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