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ZmC2H2-149 negatively regulates drought tolerance by repressing ZmHSD1 in maize

Drought is a major abiotic stress that limits maize production worldwide. Therefore, it is of great importance to improve drought tolerance in crop plants for sustainable agriculture. In this study, we examined the roles of Cys2 /His2 zinc-finger-proteins (C2H2-ZFPs) in maize's drought tolerance as C2H2-ZFPs have been implicated for plant stress tolerance. By subjecting 150 Ac/Ds mutant lines to drought stress, we successfully identified a Ds-insertion mutant, zmc2h2-149, which shows increased tolerance to drought stress.

Huafeng LiuZhendong WuMiaomiao BaoFengran GaoWenjing YangSalah Fatouh Abou-ElwafaZhixue LiuZhenzhen RenYingfang ZhuLixia KuHuihui SuLeelyn ChongYanhui Chen

Plant Cell Environ.; 2024 Jan 1. doi: 10.1111/pce.14798. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Drought is a major abiotic stress that limits maize production worldwide. Therefore, it is of great importance to improve drought tolerance in crop plants for sustainable agriculture. In this study, we examined the roles of Cys2 /His2 zinc-finger-proteins (C2H2-ZFPs) in maize's drought tolerance as C2H2-ZFPs have been implicated for plant stress tolerance. By subjecting 150 Ac/Ds mutant lines to drought stress, we successfully identified a Ds-insertion mutant, zmc2h2-149, which shows increased tolerance to drought stress. Overexpression of ZmC2H2-149 in maize led to a decrease in both drought tolerance and crop yield. DAP-Seq, RNA-Seq, Y1H and LUC assays additionally showed that ZmC2H2-149 directly suppresses the expression of a positive drought tolerance regulator, ZmHSD1 (hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1). Consistently, the zmhsd1 mutants exhibited decreased drought tolerance and grain yield under water deficit conditions compared to their respective wild-type plants. Our findings thus demonstrated that ZmC2H2-149 can regulate ZmHSD1 for drought stress tolerance in maize, offering valuable theoretical and genetic resources for maize breeding programmes that aim for improving drought tolerance.

 

See https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38164019/

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