Vascular Plant One-Zinc-Finger (VOZ) Transcription Factors Are Positive Regulators of Salt Tolerance in Arabidopsis

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Nov 23;19(12):3731. doi: 10.3390/ijms19123731.


Soil salinity, a significant problem in agriculture, severely limits the productivity of crop plants. Plants respond to and cope with salt stress by reprogramming gene expression via multiple signaling pathways that converge on transcription factors. To develop strategies to generate salt-tolerant crops, it is necessary to identify transcription factors that modulate salt stress responses in plants. In this study, we investigated the role of VOZ (VASCULAR PLANT ONE-ZINC FINGER PROTEIN) transcription factors (VOZs) in salt stress response. Transcriptome analysis in WT (wild-type), voz1-1, voz2-1 double mutant and a VOZ2 complemented line revealed that many stress-responsive genes are regulated by VOZs. Enrichment analysis for gene ontology terms in misregulated genes in voz double mutant confirmed previously identified roles of VOZs and suggested a new role for them in salt stress. To confirm VOZs role in salt stress, we analyzed seed germination and seedling growth of WT, voz1, voz2-1, voz2-2 single mutants, voz1-1 voz2-1 double mutant and a complemented line under different concentrations of NaCl. Only the double mutant exhibited hypersensitivity to salt stress as compared to WT, single mutants, and a complemented line. Expression analysis showed that hypersensitivity of the double mutant was accompanied by reduced expression of salt-inducible genes. These results suggest that VOZ transcription factors act as positive regulators of several salt-responsive genes and that the two VOZs are functionally redundant in salt stress.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; VOZ; salt stress; transcription factor; transcriptional activator.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Gene Ontology
  • Loss of Function Mutation
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Response Elements
  • Salt Tolerance*
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Transcription Factors