Enhanced drought tolerance in transgenic rice over-expressing of maize C4 phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase gene via NO and Ca(2+)

Journal of plant physiology

PubMedID: 25460871

Qian B, Li X, Liu X, Chen P, Ren C, Dai C. Enhanced drought tolerance in transgenic rice over-expressing of maize C4 phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase gene via NO and Ca(2+). J Plant Physiol. 2014;175C9-20.
We determined the effects of endogenous nitric oxide and Ca(2+) on photosynthesis and gene expression in transgenic rice plants (PC) over-expressing the maize C4pepc gene, which encodes phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) under drought. In this study, seedlings were subjected to PEG 6000 treatments using PC and wild type (WT; Kitaake). The results showed that, compared with WT, PC had higher relative water content (RWC) and net photosynthetic rate (Pn) under drought. During a 2-day re-watering treatment, Pn recovered faster in PC than in WT. Further analyses showed that, under the drought treatment, the amount of endogenous hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) increased in WT mainly via NADPH oxidase. While in PC, the endogenous nitric oxide (NO) content increased via nitrate reductase and nitric oxide synthase on day 2 of the drought treatment and day 1 of the re-watering treatment. After 2 days of drought treatment, PC also showed higher PEPC activity, calcium content, phospholipase D (PLD) activity, C4-pepc and NAC6 transcript levels, and protein kinase activity as compared with PC without treatment. These changes did not occur in WT. Correlation analysis also proved NO associated with these indicators in PC. Based on these results, there was a particular molecular mechanism of drought tolerance in PC. The mechanism is related to the signaling processes via NO and Ca(2+) involving the protein kinase and the transcription factor, resulted in up-regulation of PEPC activity and its gene expression, such as C4pepc. Some genes encode antioxidant system, cu/zn-sod as well, which promote antioxidant system to clear MDA and superoxide anion radical, thereby conferring drought tolerance.