Key message: An ERF transcription factor OsERF101 is predominantly expressed in rice reproductive tissues and plays an important role in improving rice seed setting rate under drought stress. Abstract: Drought reduces grain yield due to the cumulative damage effects to plant vegetative and reproductive developmental processes. However, the genes involved in these processes are still not completely understood. In this study, we identified a gene named OsERF101 as an important positive regulator in the adaptive responses to dehydration stress during the reproductive and vegetative stages. This gene encodes a member of APETALA2/Ethylene-Responsive Element Binding Protein (AP2/EREBP) family. OsERF101 was predominantly expressed in flowers, particularly in the tapetum and microspores under normal growth conditions. It was induced by drought, PEG6000 and abscisic acid (ABA) in leaves. During the vegetative stage, OsERF101-overexpression plants were more resistant to osmotic stress caused by PEG6000 compared to the control plants. They also had higher survival and seed setting rates than wild type when subjected to reproductive-stage drought stress. Further physiological analysis revealed that the pollen fertility was improved in the overexpression lines, while the knockout mutant and RNAi lines showed reduced pollen fertility and compromised drought tolerance during the reproductive stage. The increased proline content and peroxidase activity in OsERF101-overexpression plants might contribute to the improved drought-tolerance of plants. In addition, OsERF101-overexpression plants displayed ABA susceptible phenotype, in which the expression levels of ABA-responsive genes RD22, LEA3, and PODs were up-regulated. Taken together, our results indicate that OsERF101 is a gene that regulates dehydration responses during the vegetative and reproductive stages.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science