Rice ( Oryza sativa ), a monocotyledonous plant that does not cold acclimate, has evolved differently from Arabidopsis ( Arabidopsis thaliana ), which cold acclimates. To understand the stress response of rice in comparison with that of Arabidopsis, we developed transgenic rice plants that constitutively expressed CBF3/DREB1A ( CBF3 ) and ABF3 , Arabidopsis genes that function in abscisic acid-independent and abscisic acid-dependent stress-response pathways, respectively. CBF3 in transgenic rice elevated tolerance to drought and high salinity, and produced relatively low levels of tolerance to low-temperature exposure. These data were in direct contrast to CBF3 in Arabidopsis, which is known to function primarily to enhance freezing tolerance. ABF3 in transgenic rice increased tolerance to drought stress alone. By using the 60 K Rice Whole Genome Microarray and RNA gel-blot analyses, we identified 12 and 7 target genes that were activated in transgenic rice plants by CBF3 and ABF3, respectively, which appear to render the corresponding plants acclimated for stress conditions. The target genes together with 13 and 27 additional genes are induced further upon exposure to drought stress, consequently making the transgenic plants more tolerant to stress conditions. Interestingly, our transgenic plants exhibited neither growth inhibition nor visible phenotypic alterations despite constitutive expression of the CBF3 or ABF3 , unlike the results previously obtained from Arabidopsis where transgenic plants were stunted.
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