Overexpression of a Stress-Responsive NAC Transcription Factor Gene ONAC022 Improves Drought and Salt Tolerance in Rice.
ABSTRACT: The NAC transcription factors play critical roles in regulating stress responses in plants. However, the functions for many of the NAC family members in rice are yet to be identified. In the present study, a novel stress-responsive rice NAC gene, ONAC022, was identified. Expression of ONAC022 was induced by drought, high salinity, and abscisic acid (ABA). The ONAC022 protein was found to bind specifically to a canonical NAC recognition cis-element sequence and showed transactivation activity at its C-terminus in yeast. The ONAC022 protein was localized to nucleus when transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana. Three independent transgenic rice lines with overexpression of ONAC022 were generated and used to explore the function of ONAC022 in drought and salt stress tolerance. Under drought stress condition in greenhouse, soil-grown ONAC022-overexpressing (N22oe) transgenic rice plants showed an increased drought tolerance, leading to higher survival ratios and better growth than wild-type (WT) plants. When grown hydroponically in Hogland solution supplemented with 150 mM NaCl, the N22oe plants displayed an enhanced salt tolerance and accumulated less Na(+) in roots and shoots as compared to WT plants. Under drought stress condition, the N22oe plants exhibited decreased rates of water loss and transpiration, reduced percentage of open stomata and increased contents of proline and soluble sugars. However, the N22oe lines showed increased sensitivity to exogenous ABA at seed germination and seedling growth stages but contained higher level of endogenous ABA. Expression of some ABA biosynthetic genes (OsNCEDs and OsPSY), signaling and regulatory genes (OsPP2C02, OsPP2C49, OsPP2C68, OsbZIP23, OsAP37, OsDREB2a, and OsMYB2), and late stress-responsive genes (OsRAB21, OsLEA3, and OsP5CS1) was upregulated in N22oe plants. Our data demonstrate that ONAC022 functions as a stress-responsive NAC with transcriptional activator activity and plays a positive role in drought and salt stress tolerance through modulating an ABA-mediated pathway.
Project description:The NAC (NAM, ATAF and CUC) transcriptional factors constitute a large family with more than 150 members in rice and some of them have been demonstrated to play crucial roles in plant abiotic stress response. Here, we report the characterization of a rice stress-responsive NAC gene, ONAC095, and the exploration of its function in drought and cold stress tolerance.Expression of ONAC095 was up-regulated by drought stress and abscisic acid (ABA) but down-regulated by cold stress. ONAC095 protein had transactivation activity and the C2 domain in C-terminal was found to be critical for transactivation activity. Transgenic rice lines with overexpression of ONAC095 (ONAC095-OE) and dominant chimeric repressor-mediated suppression of ONAC095 (ONAC095-SRDX) were generated. The ONAC095-OE plants showed comparable phenotype to wild type under drought and cold stress conditions. However, the ONAC095-SRDX plants displayed an improved drought tolerance but exhibited an attenuated cold tolerance. The ONAC095-SRDX plants had decreased water loss rate, increased proline and soluble sugar contents, and up-regulated expression of drought-responsive genes under drought condition, whereas the ONAC095-SRDX plants accumulated excess reactive oxygen species, increased malondialdehyde content and down-regulated expression of cold-responsive genes under cold condition. Furthermore, ONAC095-SRDX plants showed an increased ABA sensitivity, contained an elevated ABA level, and displayed altered expression of ABA biosynthetic and metabolic genes as well as some ABA signaling-related genes.Functional analyses through dominant chimeric repressor-mediated suppression of ONAC095 demonstrate that ONAC095 plays opposite roles in drought and cold stress tolerance, acting as a negative regulator of drought response but as a positive regulator of cold response in rice.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The NAC (NAM, AFAT, and CUC) transcription factors play critical roles in rice (Oryza sativa) development and stress regulation. Overexpressing a microRNA (miR164b)-resistant OsNAC2 mutant gene, which generates transcripts that cannot be targeted by miR164b, improves rice plant architecture and yield; however, the performance of these mOsNAC2-overexpressing lines, named ZUOErN3 and ZUOErN4, under abiotic stress conditions such as drought have not yet been fully characterized. RESULTS:In this study, we showed that the germination of ZUOErN3 and ZUOErN4 seeds was delayed in comparison with the wild-type (WT) seeds, although the final germination rates of all lines were over 95%. The quantification of the endogenous ABA levels revealed that the germinating mOsNAC2-overexpressing seeds had elevated ABA levels, which resulted in their slower germination. The mOsNAC2-overexpressing plants were significantly more drought tolerance than the WT plants, with the survival rate increasing from 11.2% in the WT to nearly 70% in ZUOErN3 and ZUOErN4 plants after a drought treatment. Salt (NaCl) tolerance was also increased in the ZUOErN3 and ZUOErN4 plants due to significantly increased ABA levels. A reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis showed a significant increase in the expression of the ABA biosynthesis genes OsNCED1 and OsNCED3 in the mOsNAC2-overexpressing lines, and the expression levels of the stress-responsive genes OsP5CS1, OsLEA3, and OsRab16 were significantly increased in these plants. Moreover, OsNAC2 directly interacted with the promoters of OsLEA3 and OsNCED3 in yeast one-hybrid assays. CONCLUSIONS:Taken together, our results show that OsNAC2 plays a positive regulatory role in drought and salt tolerance in rice through ABA-mediated pathways.
Project description:Plants can perceive environmental changes and respond to external stressors. Here, we show that OsNAC2, a member of the NAC transcription factor family, was strongly induced by ABA and osmotic stressors such as drought and high salt. With reduced yields under drought conditions at the flowering stage, OsNAC2 overexpression lines had lower resistance to high salt and drought conditions. RNAi plants showed enhanced tolerance to high salinity and drought stress at both the vegetative and flowering stages. Furthermore, RNAi plants had improved yields after drought stress. A microarray assay indicated that many ABA-dependent stress-related genes were down-regulated in OsNAC2 overexpression lines. We further confirmed that OsNAC2 directly binds the promoters of LATE EMBRYOGENESIS ABUNDANT 3 (OsLEA3) and Stress-Activated Protein Kinases 1 (OsSAPK1), two marker genes in the abiotic stress and ABA response pathways, respectively. Our results suggest that in rice OsNAC2 regulates both abiotic stress responses and ABA-mediated responses, and acts at the junction between the ABA and abiotic stress pathways.
Project description:Drought and salinity are major abiotic stresses to crop production. Here, we show that overexpression of stress responsive gene SNAC1 (STRESS-RESPONSIVE NAC 1) significantly enhances drought resistance in transgenic rice (22-34% higher seed setting than control) in the field under severe drought stress conditions at the reproductive stage while showing no phenotypic changes or yield penalty. The transgenic rice also shows significantly improved drought resistance and salt tolerance at the vegetative stage. Compared with WT, the transgenic rice are more sensitive to abscisic acid and lose water more slowly by closing more stomatal pores, yet display no significant difference in the rate of photosynthesis. SNAC1 is induced predominantly in guard cells by drought and encodes a NAM, ATAF, and CUC (NAC) transcription factor with transactivation activity. DNA chip analysis revealed that a large number of stress-related genes were up-regulated in the SNAC1-overexpressing rice plants. Our data suggest that SNAC1 holds promising utility in improving drought and salinity tolerance in rice.
Project description:Although allelic diversity of genes has been shown to contribute to many phenotypic variations associated with different physiological processes in plants, information on allelic diversity of abiotic stress-responsive genes is limited. Here it is shown that the alleles OsWRKY45-1 and OsWRKY45-2 play different roles in abscisic acid (ABA) signalling and salt stress adaptation in rice. The two alleles had different transcriptional responses to ABA and salt stresses. OsWRKY45-1-overexpressing lines showed reduced ABA sensitivity, whereas OsWRKY45-1-knockout lines showed increased ABA sensitivity. OsWRKY45-1 transgenic plants showed no obvious difference from negative controls in response to salt stress. In contrast, OsWRKY45-2-overexpressing lines showed increased ABA sensitivity and reduced salt stress tolerance, and OsWRKY45-2-suppressing lines showed reduced ABA sensitivity and increased salt stress tolerance. OsWRKY45-1 and OsWRKY45-2 transgenic plants showed differential expression of a set of ABA- and abiotic stress-responsive genes, but they showed similar responses to cold and drought stresses. These results suggest that OsWRKY45-1 negatively and OsWRKY45-2 positively regulates ABA signalling and, in addition, OsWRKY45-2 but not OsWRKY45-1 negatively regulates rice response to salt stress. The different roles of the two alleles in ABA signalling and salt stress may be due to their transcriptional mediation of different signalling pathways.
Project description:Plants have evolved to have sophisticated adaptation mechanisms to cope with drought stress by reprograming transcriptional networks through drought responsive transcription factors. NAM, ATAF1-2, and CUC2 (NAC) transcription factors are known to be associated with various developmental processes and stress tolerance. In this study, we functionally characterized the rice drought responsive transcription factor OsNAC14. OsNAC14 was predominantly expressed at meiosis stage but is induced by drought, high salinity, ABA, and low temperature in leaves. Overexpression of OsNAC14 resulted in drought tolerance at the vegetative stage of growth. Field drought tests demonstrated that OsNAC14 overexpressing transgenic rice lines exhibited higher number of panicle and filling rate compared to non-transgenic plants under drought conditions. RNA-sequencing analysis revealed that OsNAC14 overexpression elevated the expression of genes for stress response, DNA damage repair, defense related, and strigolactone biosynthesis. In addition, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis confirmed the direct interaction of OsNAC14 with the promoter of OsRAD51A1, a key component in homologous recombination in DNA repair system. Collectively, these results indicate that OsNAC14 mediates drought tolerance by recruiting factors involved in DNA damage repair and defense response resulting in improved tolerance to drought.
Project description:BACKGROUND:NAC (NAM, ATAF and CUC) transcriptional factors constitute a large family with more than 150 members in rice and several members of this family have been demonstrated to play crucial roles in rice abiotic stress response. In the present study, we report the function of a novel stress-responsive NAC gene, ONAC066, in rice drought and oxidative stress tolerance. RESULTS:ONAC066 was localized in nuclei of cells when transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana and is a transcription activator with the binding ability to NAC recognition sequence (NACRS) and AtJUB1 binding site (JBS). Expression of ONAC066 was significantly induced by PEG, NaCl, H2O2 and abscisic acid (ABA). Overexpression of ONAC066 in transgenic rice improved drought and oxidative stress tolerance and increased ABA sensitivity, accompanied with decreased rate of water loss, increased contents of proline and soluble sugars, decreased accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and upregulated expression of stress-related genes under drought stress condition. By contrast, RNAi-mediated suppression of ONAC066 attenuated drought and oxidative stress tolerance and decreased ABA sensitivity, accompanied with increased rate of water loss, decreased contents of proline and soluble sugars, elevated accumulation of ROS and downregulated expression of stress-related genes under drought stress condition. Furthermore, yeast one hybrid and chromatin immunoprecipitation-PCR analyses revealed that ONAC066 bound directly to a JBS-like cis-elements in OsDREB2A promoter and activated the transcription of OsDREB2A. CONCLUSION:ONAC066 is a nucleus-localized transcription activator that can respond to multiple abiotic stress factors. Functional analyses using overexpression and RNAi-mediated suppression transgenic lines demonstrate that ONAC066 is a positive regulator of drought and oxidative stress tolerance in rice.
Project description:Abscisic acid-, stress-, and ripening-induced (ASR) genes are involved in responding to abiotic stresses, but their precise roles in enhancing grain yield under stress conditions remain to be determined. We cloned a rice (Oryza sativa) ASR gene, OsASR1, and characterized its function in rice plants. OsASR1 expression was induced by abscisic acid (ABA), salt, and drought treatments. Transgenic rice plants overexpressing OsASR1 displayed improved water regulation under salt and drought stresses, which was associated with osmolyte accumulation, improved modulation of stomatal closure, and reduced transpiration rates. OsASR1-overexpressing plants were hypersensitive to exogenous ABA and accumulated higher endogenous ABA levels under salt and drought stresses, indicating that OsASR1 is a positive regulator of the ABA signaling pathway. The growth of OsASR1-overexpressing plants was superior to that of wild-type (WT) plants under paddy field conditions when irrigation was withheld, likely due to improved modulation of stomatal closure via modified ABA signaling. The transgenic plants had higher grain yields than WT plants for four consecutive generations. We conclude that OsASR1 has a crucial role in ABA-mediated regulation of stomatal closure to conserve water under salt- and drought-stress conditions, and OsASR1 overexpression can enhance salinity and drought tolerance, resulting in improved crop yields.
Project description:Adverse environmental conditions such as high temperature and drought stress greatly limit the growth and production of crops worldwide. Several NAC (NAM, ATAF1/2, and CUC2) proteins have been documented as important regulators in stress responses, but the molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. Here, a stress-responsive NAC gene, SNAC3 (ONAC003, LOC_Os01g09550), conferring drought and heat tolerance in rice is reported. SNAC3 was ubiquitously expressed and its transcript level was induced by drought, high temperature, salinity stress, and abscisic acid (ABA) treatment. Overexpression (OE) of SNAC3 in rice resulted in enhanced tolerance to high temperature, drought, and oxidative stress caused by methyl viologen (MV), whereas suppression of SNAC3 by RNAi resulted in increased sensitivity to these stresses. The SNAC3-OE transgenic plants exhibited significantly lower levels of H2O2, malondiadehyde (MDA), and relative electrolyte leakage than the wild-type control under heat stress conditions, implying that SNAC3 may confer stress tolerance by modulating reactive oxygen species (ROS) homeostasis. Quantitative PCR experiments showed that the expression of a large number of ROS-scavenging genes was dramatically increased in the SNAC3-OE plants, but significantly decreased in the SNAC3-RNAi transgenic plants. Five ROS-associated genes which were up-regulated in SNAC3-OE plants showed co-expression patterns with SNAC3, and three of the co-expressed ROS-associated enzyme genes were verified to be direct target genes of SNAC3. These results suggest that SNAC3 plays important roles in stress responses, and it is likely to be useful for engineering crops with improved tolerance to heat and drought stress.
Project description:Arabidopsis PP2C belonging to group A have been extensively worked out and known to negatively regulate ABA signaling. However, rice (Oryza sativa) orthologs of Arabidopsis group A PP2C are scarcely characterized functionally. We have identified a group A PP2C from rice (OsPP108), which is highly inducible under ABA, salt and drought stresses and localized predominantly in the nucleus. Genetic analysis revealed that Arabidopsis plants overexpressing OsPP108 are highly insensitive to ABA and tolerant to high salt and mannitol stresses during seed germination, root growth and overall seedling growth. At adult stage, OsPP108 overexpression leads to high tolerance to salt, mannitol and drought stresses with far better physiological parameters such as water loss, fresh weight, chlorophyll content and photosynthetic potential (Fv/Fm) in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. Expression profile of various stress marker genes in OsPP108 overexpressing plants revealed interplay of ABA dependent and independent pathway for abiotic stress tolerance. Overall, this study has identified a potential rice group A PP2C, which regulates ABA signaling negatively and abiotic stress signaling positively. Transgenic rice plants overexpressing this gene might provide an answer to the problem of low crop yield and productivity during adverse environmental conditions.