A Key ABA Catabolic Gene, OsABA8ox3, Is Involved in Drought Stress Resistance in Rice

>Expressions of ABA biosynthesis genes and catabolism genes are generally co-regulated in plant development and responses to environmental stress. Up-regulation of OsNCED3 gene, a key gene in ABA biosynthesis, has been suggested as a way to enhance plant drought resistance but little is known for the role of ABA catabolic genes during drought stress. In this study, we found that OsABA8ox3 was the most highly expressed gene of the OsABA8ox family in rice leaves. Expression of OsABA8ox3 was promptly induced by rehydration after PEG-mimic dehydration, a tendency opposite to the changes of ABA level. We therefore constructed rice OsABA8ox3 silencing (RNA interference, RNAi) and overexpression plants. There were no obvious phenotype differences between the transgenic seedlings and wild type under normal condition. However, OsABA8ox3 RNAi lines showed significant improvement in drought stress tolerance while the overexpression seedlings were hypersensitive to drought stress when compared with wild type in terms of plant survival rates after 10 days of unwatering. Enzyme activity analysis indicated that OsABA8ox3 RNAi plants had higher superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities and less malondialdehyde (MDA) content than those of wild type when the plants were exposed to dehydration treatment, indicating a better anti-oxidative stress capability and less membrane damage. DNA microarray and real-time PCR analysis under dehydration treatment revealed that expressions of a group of stress/drought-related genes, i.e. LEA genes, were enhanced with higher transcript levels in OsABA8ox3 RNAi transgenic seedlings. We therefore conclude that that OsABA8ox3 gene plays an important role in controlling ABA level and drought stress resistance in rice.

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Source URL:http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0116646