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Gene. 2012 Jun 15;501(2):171-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2012.04.012. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

A novel histidine kinase gene, ZmHK9, mediate drought tolerance through the regulation of stomatal development in Arabidopsis.

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State Key Laboratory for Agrobiotechnology and Key Laboratory of Crop Genomics and Genetic Improvement (MOA), Beijing Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, China.


Plants have developed complex signaling networks to regulate biochemical and physiological acclimation, environmental signals were perceived and transmitted to cellular machinery to activate adaptive responses. Here, a novel drought responsive histidine kinase gene was identified and designated as ZmHK9. Under normal conditions, ZmHK9 was predominantly expressed in roots, and the roots of ZmHK9-OX transgenic lines are markedly hypersensitive to ABA and ethylene, as compare to wild type. Consistent with its expression induced by PEG and exogenous ABA treatment, promoter sequence of this gene possessed drought and ABA responsive element. Moreover, the transgenic plants were much less affected by drought stress and recovered quickly after rewatering, stomatal complex size and stomatal density in the transgenic plants are significantly smaller and lower than those of the wild-type plants. In addition, ABA induced stomatal closure and the stomatal aperture of ZmHK9-OX lines was smaller than that of wild type. Collectively, it can be concluded that ZmHK9 regulates root elongation, stomatal development and drought tolerance through ABA dependent signaling pathway in Arabidopsis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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