Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Develop GABA-fortified Rice Plants

August 30, 2023

Researchers from Shimane University in Japan developed GABA-fortified rice plants by editing the OsGAD4 gene. The findings are indicated in the preprint published in Research Square.

GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is a non-protein amino acid important for many biological processes, including regulating plant stress responses. GAD enzymes are responsible for producing GABA from glutamate. The OsGAD4 gene, one of the five GAD genes in the rice genome, has a CaMBD region, which binds to calcium and calmodulin. This binding activates the GAD enzyme, leading to a boost in GABA production.

Using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, the researchers trimmed the CaMBD region of the OsGAD4 gene. This method led to rice plants with more GABA than wild-type plants. The GABA-fortified rice plants were also more tolerant to abiotic stresses such as salinity, flooding, and drought. This is because GABA has been shown to help plants cope with stress by reducing oxidative damage and stimulating the production of stress-protective proteins.

This study on GABA-fortified rice plants could help improve the nutritional value and stress tolerance of rice.

Download the preprint article in Research Square.

You might also like: