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Overexpression of PYL5 in rice enhances drought tolerance, inhibits growth, and modulates gene expression

Kim, Hyunmi, Lee, Kyeyoon, Hwang, Hyunsik, Bhatnagar, Nikita, Kim, Dool-Yi, Yoon, In Sun, Byun, Myung-Ok, Kim, Sun Tae, Jung, Ki-Hong, Kim, Beom-Gi
Journal of experimental botany 2014 v.65 no.2 pp. 453-464
Oryza sativa, Zea mays, abscisic acid, crops, drought, drought tolerance, gene expression, genes, paddies, receptors, rice, salt stress, seed dormancy, seed yield, stress tolerance, ubiquitin
Abscisic acid (ABA) is a phytohormone that plays important roles in the regulation of seed dormancy and adaptation to abiotic stresses. Previous work identified OsPYL/RCARs as functional ABA receptors regulating ABA-dependent gene expression in Oryza sativa. OsPYL/RCARs thus are considered to be good candidate genes for improvement of abiotic stress tolerance in crops. This work demonstrates that the cytosolic ABA receptor OsPYL/RCAR5 in O. sativa functions as a positive regulator of abiotic stress-responsive gene expression. The constitutive expression of OsPYL/RCAR5 in rice driven by the Zea mays ubiquitin promoter induced the expression of many stress-responsive genes even under normal growth conditions and resulted in improved drought and salt stress tolerance in rice. However, it slightly reduced plant height under paddy field conditions and severely reduced total seed yield. This suggests that, although exogenous expression of OsPYL/RCAR5 is able to improve abiotic stress tolerance in rice, fine regulation of its expression will be required to avoid deleterious effects on agricultural traits.