Biotech Updates

TaHDZipI-5 Involved in Drought and Frost Tolerance in Wheat

January 10, 2018

Characterization of stress-related genes can help understand the mechanisms of plant responses to outside conditions. This study by the team of Yunfei Yang from University of Adelaide in Australia defined the role of wheat TaHDZipI-5 gene.

The TaHDZipI-5 gene encodes a stress-responsive transcription factor during the development of plant tolerance to frost and drought. The researchers found that the gene was strongly induced by low temperatures. There was also elevated TaHDZipI-5 expression in flowers and early developing grains under normal conditions, suggesting that TaHDZipI-5 is involved in regulation of frost tolerance at flowering.

The overexpression of TaHDZipI-5 in bread wheat significantly enhanced frost and drought tolerance of transgenic wheat lines. However, undesired phenotypic features were also present in the transgenics, including reduced plant size and biomass, delayed flowering, and a decrease in yield.

This gene could be a candidate gene for the development of drought and/or frost tolerant wheat. However, further studies are still needed to minimize, if not eliminate, the undesired phenotype caused by its overexpression.

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