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Plant Cell Physiol. 2014 Dec;55(12):2060-76. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcu133. Epub 2014 Sep 26.

The cotton WRKY transcription factor GhWRKY17 functions in drought and salt stress in transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana through ABA signaling and the modulation of reactive oxygen species production.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, College of Life Sciences, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong, 271018, PR China These authors contributed equally to this work.
2
State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, College of Life Sciences, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong, 271018, PR China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, College of Life Sciences, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong, 271018, PR China xqguo@sdau.edu.cn.

Abstract

Drought and high salinity are two major environmental factors that significantly limit the productivity of agricultural crops worldwide. WRKY transcription factors play essential roles in the adaptation of plants to abiotic stresses. However, WRKY genes involved in drought and salt tolerance in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) are largely unknown. Here, a group IId WRKY gene, GhWRKY17, was isolated and characterized. GhWRKY17 was found to be induced after exposure to drought, salt, H2O2 and ABA. The constitutive expression of GhWRKY17 in Nicotiana benthamiana remarkably reduced plant tolerance to drought and salt stress, as determined through physiological analyses of the germination rate, root growth, survival rate, leaf water loss and Chl content. GhWRKY17 transgenic plants were observed to be more sensitive to ABA-mediated seed germination and root growth. However, overexpressing GhWRKY17 in N. benthamiana impaired ABA-induced stomatal closure. Furthermore, we found that GhWRKY17 modulated the increased sensitivity of plants to drought by reducing the level of ABA, and transcript levels of ABA-inducible genes, including AREB, DREB, NCED, ERD and LEA, were clearly repressed under drought and salt stress conditions. Consistent with the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), reduced proline contents and enzyme activities, elevated electrolyte leakage and malondialdehyde, and lower expression of ROS-scavenging genes, including APX, CAT and SOD, the GhWRKY17 transgenic plants exhibited reduced tolerance to oxidative stress compared with wild-type plants. These results therefore indicate that GhWRKY17 responds to drought and salt stress through ABA signaling and the regulation of cellular ROS production in plants.

KEYWORDS:

ABA signaling; Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum); Drought and salt stress; ROS; WRKY transcription factor

PMID:
25261532
DOI:
10.1093/pcp/pcu133
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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