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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Report New Signaling Pathway for Chilling Tolerance in Rice

December 20, 2017

Prof. Chong Kang and team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) reported a new mechanism for chilling tolerance in rice. The findings are reported in Developmental Cell.

In 2009, the research team had shown that overexpression of the wild rice gene OrbHLH2 improved tolerance to osmotic stress in Arabidopsis. In their recent study, they discovered that the cold-activated protein kinase OsMAPK3 phosphorylates the transcription factor OsbHLH002/OsICE1 directly to enhance its transactivation activity. Furthermore, OsMAPK3 weakened the interaction between OsbHLH002 and E3 ubiquitin ligase OsHOS1, which led to decreased ubiquitination and degradation of OsbHLH002.

The boost in protein content and transactivation activity of OsbHLH002 turned on the expression of OsTPP1 (encoding trehalose-6-phosphatase) to bring about the hydrolysis of trehalose-6-phosphate, increasing the trehalose content and improving the chilling tolerance of rice.

For more information, read the news release from CAS and the research article in Developmental Cell.