The bZIP transcription factor (TF) family plays an important role in the abscisic acid (ABA) signaling pathway of abiotic stress in plants. We here report the cloning and characterization of OsbZIP71, which encodes a rice bZIP TF. Functional analysis showed that OsbZIP71 is a nuclear-localized protein that specifically binds to the G-box motif, but has no transcriptional activity both in yeast and rice protoplasts. In yeast two-hybrid assays, OsbZIP71 can form both homodimers and heterodimers with Group C members of the bZIP gene family. Expression of OsbZIP71 was strongly induced by drought, polyethylene glycol (PEG), and ABA treatments, but repressed by salt treatment. OsbZIP71 overexpressing (p35S::OsbZIP71) rice significantly improved tolerance to drought, salt and PEG osmotic stresses. In contrast, RNAi knockdown transgenic lines were much more sensitive to salt, PEG osmotic stresses, and also ABA treatment. Inducible expression (RD29A::OsbZIP71) lines were significantly improved their tolerance to PEG osmotic stresses, but hypersensitivity to salt, and insensitivity to ABA. Real-time PCR analysis revealed that the abiotic stress-related genes, OsVHA-B, OsNHX1, COR413-TM1, and OsMyb4, were up-regulated in overexpressing lines, while these same genes were down-regulated in RNAi lines. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis confirmed that OsbZIP71 directly binds the promoters of OsNHX1 and COR413-TM1 in vivo. These results suggest that OsbZIP71 may play an important role in ABA-mediated drought and salt tolerance in rice.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 6, 2013
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