Gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (γ-ECS) is a rate-limiting enzyme in glutathione biosynthesis and plays a key role in plant stress responses. In this study, the endogenous expression of the Caragana korshinskii γ-ECS ( Ckγ-ECS) gene was induced by PEG 6000-mediated drought stress in the leaves of C. korshinskii. and the Ckγ-ECS overexpressing transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants was constructed using the C. korshinskii. isolated γ-ECS.
Compared with the wildtype, the Ckγ-ECS overexpressing plants enhanced the γ-ECS activity, reduced the stomatal density and aperture sizes; they also had higher relative water content, lower water loss, and lower malondialdehyde content. At the same time, the mRNA expression of stomatal development-related gene EPF1 was increased and FAMA and STOMAGEN were decreased. Besides, the expression of auxin-relative signaling genes AXR3 and ARF5 were upregulated.
These changes suggest that transgenic Arabidopsis improved drought tolerance, and Ckγ-ECS may act as a negative regulator in stomatal development by regulating the mRNA expression of EPF1 and STOMAGEN through auxin signaling.