Gene mining in halophytes: functional identification of stress tolerance genes in Lepidium crassifolium

Gábor Rigó, Ildikó Valkai, Dóra Faragó, Edina Kiss, Sara Van Houdt, Nancy Van de Steene, Matthew A. Hannah, László Szabados

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Extremophile plants are valuable sources of genes conferring tolerance traits, which can be explored to improve stress tolerance of crops. Lepidium crassifolium is a halophytic relative of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and displays tolerance to salt, osmotic and oxidative stresses. We have employed the modified Conditional cDNA Overexpression System to transfer a cDNA library from L. crassifolium to the glycophyte A. thaliana. By screening for salt, osmotic and oxidative stress tolerance through in vitro growth assays and non-destructive chlorophyll fluorescence imaging, 20 Arabidopsis lines were identified with superior performance under restrictive conditions. Several cDNA inserts were cloned and confirmed to be responsible for the enhanced tolerance by analysing independent transgenic lines. Examples include full-length cDNAs encoding proteins with high homologies to GDSL-lipase/esterase or acyl CoA-binding protein or proteins without known function, which could confer tolerance to one or several stress conditions. Our results confirm that random gene transfer from stress tolerant to sensitive plant species is a valuable tool to discover novel genes with potential for biotechnological applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2074-2084
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016



  • COS system
  • Lepidium crassifolium
  • cDNA library
  • drought tolerance
  • gene identification
  • halophyte
  • salt tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Rigó, G., Valkai, I., Faragó, D., Kiss, E., Van Houdt, S., Van de Steene, N., Hannah, M. A., & Szabados, L. (2016). Gene mining in halophytes: functional identification of stress tolerance genes in Lepidium crassifolium. Plant Cell and Environment, 39(9), 2074-2084.