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Plant Physiol. 2004 Jul;135(3):1447-56. Epub 2004 Jun 25.

Down-regulation of metallothionein, a reactive oxygen scavenger, by the small GTPase OsRac1 in rice.

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Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Takayama 8916-5, Ikoma, Nara 630-0101, Japan.


Metallothioneins are small, ubiquitous Cys-rich proteins known to be involved in reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging and metal homeostasis. We found that the expression of a metallothionein gene (OsMT2b) was synergically down-regulated by OsRac1 and rice (Oryza sativa) blast-derived elicitors. Transgenic plants overexpressing OsMT2b showed increased susceptibility to bacterial blight and blast fungus. OsMT2b-overexpressing cells showed reduced elicitor-induced hydrogen peroxide production. In contrast, homozygous OsMT2b::Tos17-inserted mutant and OsMT2b-RNAi-silenced transgenic cells showed significantly higher elicitor-induced hydrogen peroxide production than the wild-type cells. In vitro assay showed that recombinant OsMT2b protein possessed superoxide- and hydroxyl radical-scavenging activities. Taken together, these results showed that OsMT2b is an ROS scavenger and its expression is down-regulated by OsRac1, thus potentiating ROS, which function as signals in resistance response. The results suggest that OsRac1 plays a dual role as an inducer of ROS production and a suppressor of ROS scavenging.

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