SMALL SIGNALING PEPTIDE ENHANCES DROUGHT TOLERANCE IN RICE
Small signaling peptides play important roles in plant development and its responses to abiotic and biotic stresses. A research team led by Yanchun Cui of the Chinese Academy of Sciences identified a novel small peptide gene in rice, OsDSSR1.
The gene was found to be expressed mainly in the roots, sheaths, nodes, leaves, and panicles of rice plants. OsDSSR1 expression was also found to be induced by drought, salinity, ABA, and hydrogen peroxide treatment. Transgenic rice plants overexpressing OsDSSR1 exhibited enhanced drought stress tolerance and decreased ABA sensitivity compared to wild types.
Overexpression of OsDSSR1 also promoted the accumulation of osmolytes, such as free proline and soluble sugars. Further analysis revealed that the expressions of 72 abiotic stress-responsive genes were significantly altered, either upregulated or downregulated, in the transgenic plants.
These stress-responsive candidate genes will aid in the study of the mechanisms by which small peptides control abiotic stress tolerance in crops.