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Plant Cell. 2011 Jan;23(1):412-27. doi: 10.1105/tpc.110.080325. Epub 2011 Jan 14.

The submergence tolerance regulator SUB1A mediates crosstalk between submergence and drought tolerance in rice.

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Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, Center for Plant Cell Biology, University of California, Riverside, California 92521, USA.


Submergence and drought are major constraints to rice (Oryza sativa) production in rain-fed farmlands, both of which can occur sequentially during a single crop cycle. SUB1A, an ERF transcription factor found in limited rice accessions, dampens ethylene production and gibberellic acid responsiveness during submergence, economizing carbohydrate reserves and significantly prolonging endurance. Here, we evaluated the functional role of SUB1A in acclimation to dehydration. Comparative analysis of genotypes with and without SUB1A revealed that SUB1A enhanced recovery from drought at the vegetative stage through reduction of leaf water loss and lipid peroxidation and increased expression of genes associated with acclimation to dehydration. Overexpression of SUB1A augmented ABA responsiveness, thereby activating stress-inducible gene expression. Paradoxically, vegetative tissue undergoes dehydration upon desubmergence even though the soil contains sufficient water, indicating that leaf desiccation occurs in the natural progression of a flooding event. Desubmergence caused the upregulation of gene transcripts associated with acclimation to dehydration, with higher induction in SUB1A genotypes. SUB1A also restrained accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in aerial tissue during drought and desubmergence. Consistently, SUB1A increased the abundance of transcripts encoding ROS scavenging enzymes, resulting in enhanced tolerance to oxidative stress. Therefore, in addition to providing robust submergence tolerance, SUB1A improves survival of rapid dehydration following desubmergence and water deficit during drought.

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