Biotech Updates

WRKY Genes from Wheat Confer Drought and Heat Resistance in Arabidopsis

May 25, 2016

WRKY transcription factors play important roles in regulation of plant processes, including drought stress response. However, limited information is available on drought-responsive WRKY genes in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). The team of Guan-Hua He and Ji-Yuan Xu from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences identified 48 WRKY genes from wheat. TaWRKY1 and TaWRKY33 were then selected for further investigation.

Various abiotic stress-related elements were observed in the promoters of TaWRKY1 and TaWRKY33. Further analysis showed that TaWRKY1 was upregulated by high temperature and abscisic acid (ABA) but was down regulated by low temperature. Meanwhile, TaWRKY33 was involved in responses to temperature, ABA and jasmonic acid methylester (MeJA).

Overexpression of TaWRKY1 and TaWRKY33 in Arabidopsis activated several stress-related downstream genes, increased germination rates, and promoted root growth under various stresses. TaWRKY33-transgenic Arabidopsis also showed lower rates of water loss than TaWRKY1-transgenic Arabidopsis lines and wild types during dehydration. TaWRKY33-transgenic lines also showed increased tolerance to heat stress.

For more information on this study, read the full article in BMC Plant Biology.