Background: The response regulators represent the elements of bacterial two-component system and have been characterized from dicot plants like Arabidopsis but little information is available on the monocots, including the cereal crops. The aim of this study was to characterize type-A response regulator genes from rice, and to investigate their expression in various organs as well as in response to different hormones, including cytokinin, and environmental stimuli.
Results: By analysis of the whole genome sequence of rice, we have identified ten genes encoding type-A response regulators based upon their high sequence identity within the receiver domain. The exon-intron organization, intron-phasing as well as chromosomal location of all the RT-PCR amplified rice (Oryza sativa) response regulator (OsRR) genes have been analyzed. The transcripts of OsRR genes could be detected by real-time PCR in all organs of the light- and dark-grown rice seedlings/plants, although there were quantitative differences. The steady-state transcript levels of most of the OsRR genes increased rapidly (within 15 min) on exogenous cytokinin application even in the presence of cycloheximide. Moreover, the expression of the OsRR6 gene was enhanced in rice seedlings exposed to salinity, dehydration and low temperature stress.
Conclusion: Ten type-A response regulator genes identified in rice, the model monocot plant, show overlapping/differential expression patterns in various organs and in response to light. The induction of OsRR genes by cytokinin even in the absence of de novo protein synthesis qualifies them to be primary cytokinin response genes. The induction of OsRR6 in response to different environmental stimuli indicates its role in cross-talk between abiotic stress and cytokinin signaling. These results provide a foundation for further investigations on specific as well as overlapping cellular functions of type-A response regulators in rice.