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Plant Physiol. 2008 May;147(1):367-80. doi: 10.1104/pp.108.117028. Epub 2008 Mar 7.

A third phytoene synthase is devoted to abiotic stress-induced abscisic acid formation in rice and defines functional diversification of phytoene synthase genes.

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Faculty of Biology, Center for Applied Biosciences, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.


We here report on the characterization of a novel third phytoene synthase gene (PSY) in rice (Oryza sativa), OsPSY3, and on the differences among all three PSY genes with respect to the tissue-specific expression and regulation upon various environmental stimuli. The two already known PSYs are under phytochrome control and involved in carotenoid biosynthesis in photosynthetically active tissues and exhibit different expression patterns during chloroplast development. In contrast, OsPSY3 transcript levels are not affected by light and show almost no tissue-specific differences. Rather, OsPSY3 transcripts are up-regulated during increased abscisic acid (ABA) formation upon salt treatment and drought, especially in roots. The simultaneous induction of genes encoding 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenases (NCEDs), involved in the initial steps of ABA biosynthesis, indicate that decreased xanthophyll levels are compensated by the induction of the third PSY gene. Furthermore, OsPSY3 and the OsNCEDs investigated were also induced by the application of ABA, indicating positive feedback regulation. The regulatory differences are mirrored by cis-acting elements in the corresponding promoter regions, with light-responsive elements for OsPSY1 and OsPSY2 and an ABA-response element as well as a coupling element for OsPSY3. The investigation of the gene structures and 5' untranslated regions revealed that OsPSY1 represents a descendant of an ancient PSY gene present in the common ancestor of monocots and dicots. Since the genomic structures of OsPSY2 and OsPSY3 are comparable, we conclude that they originated from the most recent common ancestor, OsPSY1.

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