Modulating NAD Salvage Pathway to Improve Plant Growth Under Drought Stress
Enhancing crop production under challenging environmental conditions is a prerequisite to ensure a sustainable food supply for the rapidly increasing population. In an attempt to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating drought stress, it was identified that expression of nicotinamidase (NIC3) which contributes to the NAD salvage pathway and converts nicotinamide to nicotinic acid is specifically upregulated in drought-stressed Arabidopsis roots. When NIC-3 overexpression plants were developed they were tolerant to drought stress and also exhibit enhanced plant growth compared to WT plants. Arabidopsis harbors four NIC genes and it seems quite interesting that although all reported components of NAD salvage pathway localize to cytoplasm, NIC2 and NIC4 are predicted to localize to the peroxisome. The proposed research project highlights the need to elucidate the function of all NIC genes in Arabidopsis with a particular emphasis on drought stress tolerance and enhanced plant growth. Characterizing the role of each NIC gene in NAD salvage pathway through comprehensive molecular and physiological tools would significantly enhance our understanding that how plants respond to drought stress. Moreover, these data would enable the researchers to modulate this pathway for crop improvement and develop crop plants with enhanced biomass and enhanced drought stress tolerance.
- Dr. Amir Faisal
- Dr. Zaigham Shahzad