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Plant Physiol. 2013 Mar;161(3):1202-16. doi: 10.1104/pp.112.205385. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

OsTZF1, a CCCH-tandem zinc finger protein, confers delayed senescence and stress tolerance in rice by regulating stress-related genes.

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  • 1Biological Resources and Post-harvest Division, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8686, Japan.


OsTZF1 is a member of the CCCH-type zinc finger gene family in rice (Oryza sativa). Expression of OsTZF1 was induced by drought, high-salt stress, and hydrogen peroxide. OsTZF1 gene expression was also induced by abscisic acid, methyl jasmonate, and salicylic acid. Histochemical activity of β-glucuronidase in transgenic rice plants containing the promoter of OsTZF1 fused with β-glucuronidase was observed in callus, coleoptile, young leaf, and panicle tissues. Upon stress, OsTZF1-green fluorescent protein localization was observed in the cytoplasm and cytoplasmic foci. Transgenic rice plants overexpressing OsTZF1 driven by a maize (Zea mays) ubiquitin promoter (Ubi:OsTZF1-OX [for overexpression]) exhibited delayed seed germination, growth retardation at the seedling stage, and delayed leaf senescence. RNA interference (RNAi) knocked-down plants (OsTZF1-RNAi) showed early seed germination, enhanced seedling growth, and early leaf senescence compared with controls. Ubi:OsTZF1-OX plants showed improved tolerance to high-salt and drought stresses and vice versa for OsTZF1-RNAi plants. Microarray analysis revealed that genes related to stress, reactive oxygen species homeostasis, and metal homeostasis were regulated in the Ubi:OsTZF1-OX plants. RNA-binding assays indicated that OsTZF1 binds to U-rich regions in the 3' untranslated region of messenger RNAs, suggesting that OsTZF1 might be associated with RNA metabolism of stress-responsive genes. OsTZF1 may serve as a useful biotechnological tool for the improvement of stress tolerance in various plants through the control of RNA metabolism of stress-responsive genes.

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