A WUSCHEL Homeobox Transcription Factor, OsWOX13, Enhances Drought Tolerance and Triggers Early Flowering in Rice

  • Minh-Thu, Pham-Thi (Department of Bioscience and Bioinformatics, Myongji University) ;
  • Kim, Joung Sug (Department of Bioscience and Bioinformatics, Myongji University) ;
  • Chae, Songhwa (Department of Bioscience and Bioinformatics, Myongji University) ;
  • Jun, Kyong Mi (Genomics Genetics Institute, GreenGene Biotech Inc.) ;
  • Lee, Gang-Seob (Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, National Institute of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Kim, Dong-Eun (Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Konkuk University) ;
  • Cheong, Jong-Joo (Center for Food and Bioconvergence, Seoul National University) ;
  • Song, Sang Ik (Department of Bioscience and Bioinformatics, Myongji University) ;
  • Nahm, Baek Hie (Department of Bioscience and Bioinformatics, Myongji University) ;
  • Kim, Yeon-Ki (Department of Bioscience and Bioinformatics, Myongji University)
  • Received : 2018.05.11
  • Accepted : 2018.06.25
  • Published : 2018.08.31


Plants have evolved strategies to cope with drought stress by maximizing physiological capacity and adjusting developmental processes such as flowering time. The WOX13 orthologous group is the most conserved among the clade of WOX homeodomain-containing proteins and is found to function in both drought stress and flower development. In this study, we isolated and characterized OsWOX13 from rice. OsWOX13 was regulated spatially in vegetative organs but temporally in flowers and seeds. Overexpression of OsWOX13 (OsWOX13-ov) in rice under the rab21 promoter resulted in drought resistance and early flowering by 7-10 days. Screening of gene expression profiles in mature leaf and panicles of OsWOX13-ov showed a broad spectrum of effects on biological processes, such as abiotic and biotic stresses, exerting a cross-talk between responses. Protein binding microarray and electrophoretic mobility shift assay analyses supported ATTGATTG as the putative cis-element binding of OsWOX13. OsDREB1A and OsDREB1F, drought stress response transcription factors, contain ATTGATTG motif(s) in their promoters and are preferentially expressed in OsWOX13-ov. In addition, Heading date 3a and OsMADS14, regulators in the flowering pathway and development, were enhanced in OsWOX13-ov. These results suggest that OsWOX13 mediates the stress response and early flowering and, thus, may be a regulator of genes involved in drought escape.


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)


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