Expression of the Arabidopsis vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase gene (AVP1) improves the shoot biomass of transgenic barley and increases grain yield in a saline field

Rhiannon K. Schilling, Petra Marschner, Yuri Shavrukov, Bettina Berger, Mark Tester, Stuart J. Roy, Darren C. Plett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)
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Cereal varieties with improved salinity tolerance are needed to achieve profitable grain yields in saline soils. The expression of AVP1, an Arabidopsis gene encoding a vacuolar proton pumping pyrophosphatase (H+-PPase), has been shown to improve the salinity tolerance of transgenic plants in greenhouse conditions. However, the potential for this gene to improve the grain yield of cereal crops in a saline field has yet to be evaluated. Recent advances in high-throughput nondestructive phenotyping technologies also offer an opportunity to quantitatively evaluate the growth of transgenic plants under abiotic stress through time. In this study, the growth of transgenic barley expressing AVP1 was evaluated under saline conditions in a pot experiment using nondestructive plant imaging and in a saline field trial. Greenhouse-grown transgenic barley expressing AVP1 produced a larger shoot biomass compared to null segregants, as determined by an increase in projected shoot area, when grown in soil with 150 mm NaCl. This increase in shoot biomass of transgenic AVP1 barley occurred from an early growth stage and also in nonsaline conditions. In a saline field, the transgenic barley expressing AVP1 also showed an increase in shoot biomass and, importantly, produced a greater grain yield per plant compared to wild-type plants. Interestingly, the expression of AVP1 did not alter barley leaf sodium concentrations in either greenhouse- or field-grown plants. This study validates our greenhouse-based experiments and indicates that transgenic barley expressing AVP1 is a promising option for increasing cereal crop productivity in saline fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-386
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

All Plant Biotechnology Journal articles will be published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which allows users to copy, distribute and transmit an article, adapt the article and make commercial use of the article. The CC BY license permits commercial and non-commercial re-use of an open access article, as long as the author is properly attributed. Copyright on any research article published by a Wiley Open Access journal is retained by the author(s).


  • AVP1
  • Barley
  • GM field trials
  • Grain yield
  • Nondestructive imaging
  • Salinity


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