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Crop Biotech Update

Overexpression of OsERF48 Enhances Root Growth and Drought Tolerance in Rice

October 4, 2017

The AP2/ERF family is a plant-specific transcription factor associated with developmental processes and stress tolerance. The team of Harin Jung from Seoul National University in South Korea studied the drought-inducible OsERF48 gene.

When OsERF48 was overexpressed in rice either via a root-specific (ROXOsERF48) or whole-plant (OXOsERF48) expression, transgenic plants showed a longer and denser roots compared to the controls. When plants were grown on a 40% polyethylene glycol-infused medium under drought conditions, ROXOsERF48 plants showed a more vigorous root growth than OXOsERF48 and the control plants. Moreover, the ROXOsERF48 plants exhibited higher grain yield than OXOsERF48 and control plants under field-drought conditions.

The team hypothesized the involvement of 20 drought-related genes associated with OsERF48 expression. These genes involved in stress signalling and drought responses, including OsCML16, a key gene in calcium signalling during abiotic stress, which was revealed to be a direct target of OsERF48. These results demonstrated that OsERF48 regulates OsCML16, which enhances root growth and drought tolerance.

For more information, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.