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The transcription factor bZIP68 negatively regulates cold tolerance in maize.
Thursday, 2022/08/11 | 08:09:31

Li Z, Fu D, Wang X, Zeng R, Zhang X, Tian J, Zhang S, Yang X, Tian F, Lai J, Shi Y, Yang S.

Plant Cell; 2022 Jul 30; 34(8):2833-2851. doi: 10.1093/plcell/koac137.


Maize (Zea mays) originated in tropical areas and is thus susceptible to low temperatures, which pose a major threat to maize production. Our understanding of the molecular basis of cold tolerance in maize is limited. Here, we identified bZIP68, a basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factor, as a negative regulator of cold tolerance in maize. Transcriptome analysis revealed that bZIP68 represses the cold-induced expression of DREB1 transcription factor genes. The stability and transcriptional activity of bZIP68 are controlled by its phosphorylation at the conserved Ser250 residue under cold stress. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the bZIP68 locus was a target of selection during early domestication. A 358-bp insertion/deletion (Indel-972) polymorphism in the bZIP68 promoter has a significant effect on the differential expression of bZIP68 between maize and its wild ancestor teosinte. This study thus uncovers an evolutionary cis-regulatory variant that could be used to improve cold tolerance in maize.


See https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35543494/


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