Crop Biotech Update

OsbZIP62 Improves Drought and Oxidative Stress Tolerance in Rice

June 20, 2019

Drought is one of the abiotic factors that affect the yield of crops. Studies have shown that basic leucine zipper motif (bZIP) transcription factors play an important regulatory function in plant drought stress responses. However, the functions of bZIP transcription factors in rice are still mysterious. Scientists from Shanghai Agrobiological Gene Center identified and characterized a novel drought stress-related bZIP transcription factor in rice—OsbZIP62. The findings are published in BMC Plant Biology.

Results showed that the expression of OsbZIP62 was induced by drought, hydrogen peroxide, and abscisic acid (ABA). Overexpression of OsbZIP62-VP64 (OsbZIP62V) led to improved tolerance to drought and oxidative stress exhibited by transgenic rice, while osbzip62 mutants showed the opposite response. OsbZIP62-GFP was found to be localized to the nucleus, and the N-terminal sequence was required to activate the transcription of OsbZIP62. Furthermore, analysis showed that the expression of several stress-related genes was upregulated in OsbZIP62V plants.

The findings imply that OsbZIP62 is important in ABA signaling pathways and positively regulates rice drought tolerance by controlling the expression of stress-related genes, and this gene could be used to genetically engineer important crops with better drought tolerance.

Read the research article in BMC Plant Biology.