Identification of candidate genes involved in the salt tolerance of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Based on a yeast functional bioassay

Himanshu V. Patankar, Ibtisam Al-Harrasi, Rashid Al-Yahyai, Mahmoud W. Yaish*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Although date palm is a relatively salt-tolerant plant, the molecular basis of this tolerance is complex and poorly understood. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the genes involved in salinity tolerance using a basic yeast functional bioassay. To achieve this, a date palm cDNA library was overexpressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells. The expression levels of selected genes that make yeast cells tolerant to salt were subsequently validated in the leaf and root tissues of date palm seedlings using a quantitative PCR method. About 6000 yeast transformant cells were replica printed and screened on a synthetic minimal medium containing 1.0 M of NaCl. The screening results showed the presence of 62 salt-tolerant transformant colonies. Sequence analysis of the recombinant yeast plasmids revealed the presence of a group of genes with potential salt-tolerance functions, such as aquaporins (PIP), serine/threonine protein kinases (STKs), ethylene-responsive transcription factor 1 (ERF1), and peroxidases (PRX). The expression pattern of the selected genes endorsed the hypothesis that these genes may be involved in salinity tolerance, as they showed a significant (p < 0.05) overexpression trend in both the leaf and root tissues in response to salinity. The genes identified in this project are suitable candidates for the further functional characterization of date palms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-534
Number of pages11
JournalDNA and Cell Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • bioassay
  • date palm
  • functional characterization
  • salt tolerance
  • yeast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

Cite this