Chickpea glutaredoxin (CaGrx) gene mitigates drought and salinity stress by modulating the physiological performance and antioxidant defense mechanisms

Anil Kumar, Varun Kumar, Arvind Kumar Dubey, Mohd Akram Ansari, Shiv Narayan, Meenakshi, Sanoj Kumar, Vivek Pandey, Veena Pande, Indraneel Sanyal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Glutaredoxins (Grxs) are short, cysteine-rich glutathione (GSH)-mediated oxidoreductases. In this study, a chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) glutaredoxin [LOC101493651 (CaGrx)] gene has been selected based on screening experiments with two contrasting varieties of chickpea, PUSA-362 (drought-tolerant) and ICC-1882 (drought-sensitive) under drought and salinity. The tolerant variety showed higher CaGrx gene expression, as compared to less in the sensitive variety, under both the stresses. The CaGrx gene was then over-expressed in Arabidopsis thaliana and were exposed to drought and salinity. The over-expression of CaGrx elevated the activity of glutaredoxin, which induced antioxidant enzymes (glutathione reductase; GR, glutathione peroxidase; GPX, catalase; CAT, ascorbate peroxidase; APX, glutathione-S-transferase; GST, superoxide dismutase; SOD, monodehydroascorbate reductase; MDHAR, and dehydroascorbate reductase; DHAR), antioxidants (GSH and ascorbate) and stress-responsive amino acids (cysteine and proline). Enhancement in the antioxidant defense system possibly administered tolerance in transgenics against both stresses. CaGrx reduced stress markers (H2O2, TBARS, and electrolyte leakage) and enhanced root growth, seed germination, and survival against both stresses. The physiological parameters (net photosynthesis; PN, water use efficiency; WUE, stomatal conductance; gs, transpiration; E, electron transport rate; ETR, and photochemical quenching; qP), chlorophylls and carotenoids, were improved in the transgenics during both stresses, that maintained the photosynthetic apparatus and protected the plants from damage. The enhanced activity of the cysteine biosynthesis enzyme, o-acetylserine (thiol) lyase (OAS-TL), increased the cysteine level in the transgenics, which elevated glutathione biosynthesis to maintain the ascorbate–glutathione cycle under both stresses. This investigation verified that the CaGrx gene provides tolerance against salinity and drought, maintaining physiological and morphological performances, and could be exploited for genetic engineering approaches to overcome both the stresses in various crops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-944
Number of pages22
JournalPhysiology and Molecular Biology of Plants
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Drought
  • Glutaredoxin
  • Glutathione
  • ROS
  • Salinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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