Metallothionein (MT1): A molecular stress marker in chickpea enhances drought and heavy metal stress adaptive efficacy in transgenic plants

Sanoj Kumar, Ankita Yadav, Rita Verma, Arvind Kumar Dubey, Shiv Narayan, Ankesh Pandey, Anshu Sahu, Sudhakar Srivastava, Indraneel Sanyal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Metallothioneins (MTs) are diverse class of cysteine-rich proteins having metal-chelation properties. The role of MTs has been demonstrated in different abiotic stresses and MTs have been designated as biomolecular stress markers. Chickpea is an important legume crop supplying proteins to humans, as well as acting as great soil-binders along with nitrogen-fixation capability. The present research deals with the development of transgenic chickpea overexpressing metallothionein type-1 (CarMT1) gene for analyzing its role in stress tolerance against drought and heavy metals. The overexpression construct was designed using binary expression vector, pBI121 and transformed in chickpea desi cultivar, Pusa-362 for functional validation by using sonication-assisted Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The results indicated high transcript levels under the drought (22-folds) and changes in physiological (photosynthesis rate, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, water-use efficiency) and biochemical (antioxidant enzymes and compatible solutes) parameters suggesting stress-mitigating roles of CarMT1. The transgenic seeds were evaluated for heavy metal stress adaptation that resulted in better seed survival efficiency under different heavy metal stresses. The results indicated beneficial roles of MT gene in transgenic lines of chickpea in presence of different abiotic stresses, which could pave the way for multi-stress tolerant crop development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104871
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Botany
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • Cysteine-rich
  • Legumes
  • Metallothioneins
  • Overexpression
  • Transgenics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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