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Isoprene synthesis protects transgenic tobacco plants from oxidative stress

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Plant, Cell and Environment
Issue number5
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)520-531
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Isoprene emission represents a significant loss of carbon to those plant species that synthesize this highly volatile and reactive compound. As a tool for studying the role of isoprene in plant physiology and biochemistry, we developed transgenic tobacco plants capable of emitting isoprene in a similar manner to and at rates comparable to a naturally emitting species. Thermotolerance of photosynthesis against transient high-temperature episodes could only be observed in lines emitting high levels of isoprene; the effect was very mild and could only be identified over repetitive stress events. However, isoprene-emitting plants were highly resistant to ozone-induced oxidative damage compared with their non-emitting azygous controls. In ozone-treated plants, accumulation of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) was inhibited, and antioxidant levels were higher. Isoprene-emitting plants showed remarkably decreased foliar damage and higher rates of photosynthesis compared to non-emitting plants immediately following oxidative stress events. An inhibition of hydrogen peroxide accumulation in isoprene-emitting plants may stall the programmed cell death response which would otherwise lead to foliar necrosis. These results demonstrate that endogenously produced isoprene provides protection from oxidative damage.