Analysis of Stress-Responsive Gene Expression in Cultivated and Weedy Rice Differing in Cold Stress Tolerance

PLoS One. 2015 Jul 31;10(7):e0132100. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132100. eCollection 2015.


Rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars show impairment of growth in response to environmental stresses such as cold at the early seedling stage. Locally adapted weedy rice is able to survive under adverse environmental conditions, and can emerge in fields from greater soil depth. Cold-tolerant weedy rice can be a good genetic source for developing cold-tolerant, weed-competitive rice cultivars. An in-depth analysis is presented here of diverse indica and japonica rice genotypes, mostly weedy rice, for cold stress response to provide an understanding of different stress adaptive mechanisms towards improvement of the rice crop performance in the field. We have tested a collection of weedy rice genotypes to: 1) classify the subspecies (ssp.) grouping (japonica or indica) of 21 accessions; 2) evaluate their sensitivity to cold stress; and 3) analyze the expression of stress-responsive genes under cold stress and a combination of cold and depth stress. Seeds were germinated at 25°C at 1.5- and 10-cm sowing depth for 10d. Seedlings were then exposed to cold stress at 10°C for 6, 24 and 96h, and the expression of cold-, anoxia-, and submergence-inducible genes was analyzed. Control plants were seeded at 1.5cm depth and kept at 25°C. The analysis revealed that cold stress signaling in indica genotypes is more complex than that of japonica as it operates via both the CBF-dependent and CBF-independent pathways, implicated through induction of transcription factors including OsNAC2, OsMYB46 and OsF-BOX28. When plants were exposed to cold + sowing depth stress, a complex signaling network was induced that involved cross talk between stresses mediated by CBF-dependent and CBF-independent pathways to circumvent the detrimental effects of stresses. The experiments revealed the importance of the CBF regulon for tolerance to both stresses in japonica and indica ssp. The mechanisms for cold tolerance differed among weedy indica genotypes and also between weedy indica and cultivated japonica ssp. as indicated by the up/downregulation of various stress-responsive pathways identified from gene expression analysis. The cold-stress response is described in relation to the stress signaling pathways, showing complex adaptive mechanisms in different genotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Cold Temperature
  • Cold-Shock Response / genetics*
  • F-Box Proteins / genetics
  • F-Box Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Genes, Plant / genetics*
  • Germination / genetics
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase / biosynthesis
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Oryza / classification
  • Oryza / genetics
  • Oryza / growth & development*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • alpha-Amylases / metabolism


  • F-Box Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase
  • alpha-Amylases