Crop Biotech Update

OsNAC6 Rice Transcription Factor Regulates Multiple Drought Tolerance Pathways

January 18, 2017

A plant's ability to adapt to rhizosphere drought stress requires reprogramming of root growth and development. While studies have documented the root adaption for tolerance to drought stress, the underlying mechanism is still incomplete. Dong-Keun Lee of Seoul National University and a team of researchers have identified OsNAC6-mediated root structural adaptations, such as increased root number and root diameter, which enhance drought tolerance in rice.

Multi-year drought field tests revealed that the grain yield of OsNAC6 root-specific overexpressing transgenic rice lines were less affected by drought stress than non-transgenic controls. Further analysis of the mutants revealed that OsNAC6 upregulates expression of target genes involved in multiple drought tolerance pathways. Moreover, overexpression of NICOTIANAMINE SYNTHASE genes, direct targets of OsNAC6, promoted the accumulation of the metal chelator NA.

OsNAC6 regulates molecular drought tolerance mechanisms and has potential for the development of high-yielding crops under drought conditions.

For more on this study, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.