Isolation and molecular characterization of GmERF7, a soybean ethylene-response factor that increases salt stress tolerance in tobacco

Ying Zhai, Ying Wang, Yanjie Li, Tingting Lei, Fan Yan, Liantai Su, Xiaowei Li, Yan Zhao, Xin Sun, Jingwen Li, Qingyu Wang
Gene 2013 January 15, 513 (1): 174-83
Ethylene-response factors (ERFs) play an important role in regulating gene expression in plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. In this study, a new ERF transcription factor, GmERF7, was isolated from soybean. Sequence analysis showed that GmERF7 contained an AP2/ERF domain with 58 amino acids, two putative nuclear localization signal (NLS) domains, an acidic amino acid-rich transcriptional activation domain and a conserved N-terminal motif [MCGGAI(I/L)]. The expression of GmERF7 was induced by drought, salt, methyl jasmonate (MeJA), ethylene (ETH) and abscisic acid (ABA) treatments. However, the expression of GmERF7 decreased under cold treatment. GmERF7 localized to the nucleus when transiently expressed in onion epidermal cells. Furthermore, GmERF7 protein bound to the GCC-box element in vitro and activated the expression of the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene in tobacco leaves. Activities of GmERF7 promoter (GmERF7P) upregulated in tobacco leaves with 10h drought, salt and ETH treatments. However, activities of GmERF7P decreased with 10h cold and ABA treatments. Overexpression of GmERF7 in tobacco plants led to higher levels of chlorophyll and soluble carbohydrates and a lower level of malondialdehyde compared with wild-type tobacco plants under salt stress conditions, which indicated that GmERF7 enhanced salt tolerance in transgenic plants.

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