Discovery of a compound that enhances drought stress tolerance and biomass productivity of plants

September 3, 2021

Contributing to the development of fertilizers and technologies to improve drought tolerance of agricultural products

An international collaborative research group from RIKEN CSRS, Saitama University, and University of the Punjab in Pakistan has found that nicotinic acid increases tolerance to drought stress and biomass productivity in plants.

Technologies to improve plant drought stress tolerance have been sought using genetic modification and compounds with purposes to develop plants with enhanced tolerance to dry conditions/drought. However, many of the conventional technologies reduce biomass productivity when drought stress tolerance is improved.

The international collaborative research group analyzed the functions of genes in the biosynthetic pathway of NAD (the salvage pathway of NAD biosynthesis), which is responsible for electron transfer reactions in living organisms. As a result, the group found that overexpressing the nicotinamidase 3 (NIC3)gene or applying nicotinic acid (a metabolite of NIC3) to plants, enhances drought stress tolerance and improves biomass productivity in plants.

The achievement of this research would contribute to the development of fertilizers and technologies that enhance the drought stress tolerance of agricultural products.

Original article
Plant Molecular Biologydoi:10.1007/s11103-021-01179-z
Z. Ahmad, K. Bashir, A. Matsui, M. Tanaka, R. Sasaki, A. Oikawa, M. Y. Hirai, Chaomurilege, Y. Zu, M. Kawai-Yamada, B. Rashid, T. Husnain, M. Seki,
"Overexpression of nicotinamidase 3 (NIC3) gene and the exogenous application of nicotinic acid (NA) enhance drought tolerance and increase biomass in Arabidopsis".
Motoaki Seki; Team Leader
Zarnab Ahmad; Student Trainee
Khurram Bashir; Visiting Scientist
Plant Genomic Network Research Team