Constitutive expression of DaCBF7, an Antarctic vascular plant Deschampsia antarctica CBF homolog, resulted in improved cold tolerance in transgenic rice plants

Mi Young Byun, Jungeun Lee, Li Hua Cui, Yoonjee Kang, Tae Kyung Oh, Hyun Park, Hyoungseok Lee, Woo Taek Kim
Plant Science: An International Journal of Experimental Plant Biology 2015, 236: 61-74
Deschampsia antarctica is an Antarctic hairgrass that grows on the west coast of the Antarctic peninsula. In this report, we have identified and characterized a transcription factor, D. antarctica C-repeat binding factor 7 (DaCBF7), that is a member of the monocot group V CBF homologs. The protein contains a single AP2 domain, a putative nuclear localization signal, and the typical CBF signature. DaCBF7, like other monocot group V homologs, contains a distinct polypeptide stretch composed of 43 amino acids in front of the AP2 motif. DaCBF7 was predominantly localized to nuclei and interacted with the C-repeat/dehydration responsive element (CRT/DRE) core sequence (ACCGAC) in vitro. DaCBF7 was induced by abiotic stresses, including drought, cold, and salinity. To investigate its possible cellular role in cold tolerance, a transgenic rice system was employed. DaCBF7-overexpressing transgenic rice plants (Ubi:DaCBF7) exhibited markedly increased tolerance to cold stress compared to wild-type plants without growth defects; however, overexpression of DaCBF7 exerted little effect on tolerance to drought or salt stress. Transcriptome analysis of a Ubi:DaCBF7 transgenic line revealed 13 genes that were up-regulated in DaCBF7-overexpressing plants compared to wild-type plants in the absence of cold stress and in short- or long-term cold stress. Five of these genes, dehydrin, remorin, Os03g63870, Os11g34790, and Os10g22630, contained putative CRT/DRE or low-temperature responsive elements in their promoter regions. These results suggest that overexpression of DaCBF7 directly and indirectly induces diverse genes in transgenic rice plants and confers enhanced tolerance to cold stress.

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