Phytochrome-interacting factor 3 (PIF3) activates light-responsive transcriptional network genes in coordination with the circadian clock and plant hormones to modulate plant growth and development. However, little is known of the roles PIF3 plays in the responses to abiotic stresses. In this study, the cloning and functional characterization of the ZmPIF3 gene encoding a maize PIF3 protein is reported. Subcellular localization revealed the presence of ZmPIF3 in the cell nucleus. Expression patterns revealed that ZmPIF3 is expressed strongly in leaves. This expression responds to polyethylene glycol, NaCl stress, and abscisic acid application, but not to cold stress. ZmPIF3 under the control of the ubiquitin promoter was introduced into rice. No difference in growth and development between ZmPIF3 transgenic and wild-type plants was observed under normal growth conditions. However, ZmPIF3 transgenic plants were more tolerant to dehydration and salt stresses. ZmPIF3 transgenic plants had increased relative water content, chlorophyll content, and chlorophyll fluorescence, as well as significantly enhanced cell membrane stability under stress conditions. The over-expression of ZmPIF3 increased the expression of stress-responsive genes, such as Rab16D, DREB2A, OSE2, PP2C, Rab21, BZ8 and P5CS, as detected by real-time PCR analysis. Taken together, these results improve our understanding of the role ZmPIF3 plays in abiotic stresses signaling pathways; our findings also indicate that ZmPIF3 regulates the plant response to drought and salt stresses.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 31, 2015
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