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A transcriptional regulator that boosts grain yields and shortens the growth duration of rice
Wednesday, 2022/08/03 | 08:14:54

Shao Bo Wei et al.

SCIENCE; 22 Jul 2022; Vol 377, Issue 6604; DOI: 10.1126/science.abi8455


Complex biological processes such as plant growth and development are often under the control of transcription factors that regulate the expression of large sets of genes and activate subordinate transcription factors in a cascade-like fashion. Here, by screening candidate photosynthesis-related transcription factors in rice, we identified a DREB (Dehydration Responsive Element Binding) family member, OsDREB1C, in which expression is induced by both light and low nitrogen status. We show that OsDREB1C drives functionally diverse transcriptional programs determining photosynthetic capacity, nitrogen utilization, and flowering time. Field trials with OsDREB1C-overexpressing rice revealed yield increases of 41.3 to 68.3% and, in addition, shortened growth duration, improved nitrogen use efficiency, and promoted efficient resource allocation, thus providing a strategy toward achieving much-needed increases in agricultural productivity.


See https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abi8455


Figure: OsDREB1C coordinates yield and growth duration.

OsDREB1C was identified by its responsiveness to light and low nitrogen in a screen of 118 transcription factors related to C4 photosynthesis. Transcriptional activation of multiple downstream target genes by OsDREB1C confers enhanced photosynthesis, improved nitrogen utilization, and early flowering. Together, the activated genes cause substantial yield increases in rice and wheat.


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