Drought is one of the abiotic factors that affect the yield of crops.
Studies have shown that basic leucine zipper motif (bZIP) transcription
factors play an important regulatory function in plant drought stress
responses. However, the functions of bZIP transcription factors in rice are
still mysterious. Scientists from Shanghai Agrobiological Gene Center
identified and characterized a novel drought stress-related bZIP
transcription factor in rice-OsbZIP62. The findings are published in BMC
Results showed that the expression of OsbZIP62 was induced by drought,
hydrogen peroxide, and abscisic acid (ABA). Overexpression of OsbZIP62-VP64
(OsbZIP62V) led to improved tolerance to drought and oxidative stress
exhibited by transgenic rice, while osbzip62 mutants showed the opposite
response. OsbZIP62-GFP was found to be localized to the nucleus, and the
N-terminal sequence was required to activate the transcription of OsbZIP62.
Furthermore, analysis showed that the expression of several stress-related
genes was upregulated in OsbZIP62V plants.
The findings imply that OsbZIP62 is important in ABA signaling pathways and
positively regulates rice drought tolerance by controlling the expression of
stress-related genes, and this gene could be used to genetically engineer
important crops with better drought tolerance.