Expression of TERF1 in rice regulates expression of stress-responsive genes and enhances tolerance to drought and high-salinity

Shumei Gao, Haiwen Zhang, Yun Tian, Fang Li, Zhijin Zhang, Xiangyang Lu, Xiaoliang Chen, Rongfeng Huang
Plant Cell Reports 2008, 27 (11): 1787-95
Drought and high-salinity are the important constraints that severely affect plant development and crop yield worldwide. It has been established that ethylene response factor (ERF) proteins play important regulatory roles in plant response to abiotic and biotic stresses. Our previous researches have revealed that transgenic tobacco over-expressing TERF1 (encoding a tomato ERF protein) showed enhanced tolerance to abiotic stress. Here, we further investigate the function of TERF1 in transgenic rice. Compared with the wild-type plants, overexpression of TERF1 resulted in an increased tolerance to drought and high-salt in transgenic rice. And the enhanced tolerance may be associated with the accumulation of proline and the decrease of water loss. Furthermore, TERF1 can effectively regulate the expression of stress-related functional genes Lip5, Wcor413-l, OsPrx and OsABA2, as well as regulatory genes OsCDPK7, OsCDPK13 and OsCDPK19 under normal growth conditions. Our analyses of cis-acting elements show that there exist DRE/CRT and/or GCC-box existing in TERF1 targeted gene promoters. Our results revealed that ectopic expression of TERF1 in rice caused a series of molecular and physiological alterations and resulted in the transgenic rice with enhanced tolerance to abiotic stress, indicating that TERF1 might have similar regulatory roles in response to abiotic stress in tobacco and rice.

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