Over-expression of a transcription factor regulating ABA-responsive gene expression confers multiple stress tolerance

Plant Biotechnol J. 2004 Sep;2(5):459-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7652.2004.00090.x.


Unfavourable environmental conditions, such as drought, freezing and high salinity, are major limiting factors of plant productivity. Plants perceive and respond adaptively to such 'abiotic stress' conditions, and the adaptive process is controlled mainly by the phytohormone, abscisic acid (ABA). The hormone, whose level increases under various stress conditions, functions as a signal to trigger adaptive responses that include changes in gene expression patterns. We have recently reported transcription factors that regulate the ABA-responsive gene expression. As ABA mediates adaptation to several common abiotic stresses, we investigated whether the transcription factors are involved in various stress responses. Here, we report that over-expression of ABF3, one of the factors, confers tolerance to chilling, freezing, high temperature and oxidative stress in addition to drought. Our results indicate that ABF3 is involved in multiple stress responses, and that it may be a useful genetic resource for the engineering of plant stress tolerance.