ISSN 1021-4437, Russian Journal of Plant Physiology, 2008, Vol. 55, No. 4, pp. 530–537. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2008.
Original Russian Text © T. Zh. Hu, 2008, published in Fiziologiya Rastenii, 2008, Vol. 55, No. 4, pp. 588–596.
Plants grow in a dynamic environment that fre-
quently imposes constraints on growth and develop-
ment. Among the adverse environmental factors com-
monly encountered by land plants, abiotic stresses,
such as water deﬁcit, high soil salinity, and extreme
temperature; they can limit plant growth and productiv-
ity and therefore represent a signiﬁcant obstacle to their
introduction in large areas of the world . To adapt to
drought conditions, plants evolve various mechanisms.
Plants have developed various strategies for coping
with unfavorable conditions. These early events of
adaptation include the sensing and subsequent signal
transduction to initiate various metabolic activities
through the induction of stress-responsive genes .
Genetic and cellular mechanisms involved in such
stresses have been widely explored [2–4].
Water deﬁcit caused by dehydration is the most
common abiotic stress, to which land plants are
exposed, affecting growth and development by altering
their metabolism and gene expression [2, 3]. Therefore,
during such periods, plants undergo many physiologi-
cal changes and induce a large number of genes for
adaptation . Water deﬁcit is also triggered by
: CaMV—cauliﬂower mosaic virus;
mycin phosphotransferase gene; LEA—late embryogenesis
This text was submitted by the authors in English.
osmotic stress due to high salinity or chilling. This def-
icit often leads to increased cellular levels of ABA .
Consequently, many dehydration-responsive genes can
be induced by high salinity, chilling, or ABA applica-
tions, although some are mediated independently .
Although various dehydration-induced genes have
been identiﬁed by expression proﬁling in a wide range
of plant species; the functions of these genes have been
predicted from their deduced amino acid sequences [7–9].
In many cases, the exact physiological functions of
some genes with respect to stress tolerance are as yet
unknown. Because the molecular basis for plant toler-
ance to water stress is not completely understood, the
functional characterization of the genes induced during
dehydration is a next logical step in addressing the
molecular mechanism for plant response to water
stress. It is critical to study the functions of dehydra-
tion-induced genes in order to understand the mecha-
nisms involved in dehydration tolerance in plants and
more speciﬁcally in crops because of their economic
Among the candidate genes for the improvement of
resistance to unfavorable conditions, those that encode
Late Embryogenesis Abundant (LEA) proteins are of
special interest because they presumably play a protec-
tive role under unfavorable conditions [3, 11]. LEA
proteins were ﬁrst characterized in cotton as a set of
proteins that are profusely accumulated in the embryos
, a Late Embryogenesis Abundant Protein Gene
from Rice, Confers Tolerance to Water Deficit and Salt Stress
to Transgenic Rice
T. Zh. Hu
College of Bioengineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China;
fax: +86 (0) 23-58106710; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Biology, Chongqing Three Gorges University, Chongqing 404000, China
Received June 14, 2007
—OsLEA3 is a late embryogenesis abundant group 3 protein. The
gene located on chromo-
some 5 of rice (
L.) includes one intron and two exons and encodes a protein of 200 amino acid
residues. Expression analysis revealed that OsLEA3 was induced by water deﬁcit and salt stress. Overexpres-
sion of the
gene in the transgenic rice plants allowed us to test the role of the OsLEA3 protein in stress
tolerance. The accumulation of the OsLEA3 protein in the vegetative tissues of transgenic rice plants enhanced
their tolerance to water deﬁcit and salt stress. These results demonstrate a role for the OsLEA3 protein in stress
protection and suggest the potential of the
gene for genetic engineering of stress tolerance.
Key words: Oryza sativa - transgenic rice - abiotic stresses - late embryogenesis abundant protein - salt stress - water