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Overexpression Of MdIAA24 Improves Apple Drought Resistance By Positively Regulating Strigolactone Biosynthesis And Mycorrhization

Dong Huang, Qian Wang, Guangquan Jing, Mengnan Ma, Chao Li, Fengwang Ma

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Abstract Most land plant species have the ability to establish a symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. These fungi penetrate into root cortical cells and form branched structures (known as arbuscules) for nutrient exchange. We cloned the MdIAA24 from apple (Malus domestica) following its up-regulation during AM symbiosis. Results demonstrate the positive impact of the overexpression (OE) of MdIAA24 in apple on AM colonization. We observed the strigolactone (SL) synthesis genes, including MdD27, MdCCD7, MdCCD8a, MdCCD8b and MdMAXa, to be up-regulated in the OE lines. Thus, the OE lines exhibited both a higher SL content and colonization rate. Furthermore, we observed that the OE lines were able to maintain better growth parameters under AM inoculation conditions. Under drought stress with the AM inoculation, the OE lines were less damaged, which was demonstrated by a higher relative water content, a lower relative electrolytic leakage, a greater osmotic adjustment, a higher reactive oxygen species scavenging ability, an improved gas exchange capacity and an increased chlorophyll fluorescence performance. Our findings demonstrate that the OE of MdIAA24 in apple positively regulates the synthesis of SL and the formation of arbuscules as a drought stress coping mechanism.