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Crop Biotech Update

Overexpression of Ethylene Response Factor Confers Cold Tolerance in Rice Seedlings

January 14, 2011

Cold or low temperature is one of the factors that affect production of rice (Oryza sativa L.), a warm-season plant. Previous studies have shown that overexpression of ethylene response factor (ERF) could induce cold tolerance in genetically modified tobacco and tomato. Thus, Yun Tian of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and his team tested the effect of overexpression of protein TERF2, a member of the ERF family, on cold tolerance of rice.

Results showed that overexpression of TERF2 gives a lot of benefits to rice plants. The protein increased the build-up of chlorophyll and decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA) level, which are indicators of oxidative stress that can cause damage to cell structures. TERF2 also stimulated the expression of several cold-related genes regardless of whether the transgenic plant is exposed to cold or not. These findings suggest that TERF2 could be used for the improvement of cold tolerance of rice.

Read the research article at http://www.springerlink.com/content/n287796833k660tq/.