Transformation of tomato with a bacterial codA gene enhances tolerance to salt and water stresses

Genetically engineered tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) with the ability to synthesize glycinebetaine was generated by introducing the codA gene encoding choline oxidase from Arthrobacter globiformis. Integration of the codA gene in transgenic tomato plants was verified by PCR analysis and DNA blot hybridization. Transgenic expression of gene was verified by RT-PCR analysis and RNA blot hybridization. The codA-transgenic plants showed higher tolerance to salt stress during seed germination, and subsequent growth of young seedlings than wild-type plants. The codA transgene enhanced the salt tolerance of whole plants and leaves. Mature leaves of codA-transgenic plants revealed higher levels of relative water content, chlorophyll content, and proline content than those of wild-type plants under salt and water stresses. Results from the current study suggest that the expression of the codA gene in transgenic tomato plants induces the synthesis of glycinebetaine and improves the tolerance of plants to salt and water stresses.