OsbZIP42 is a positive regulator of ABA signaling and confers drought tolerance to rice

Planta. 2019 May;249(5):1521-1533. doi: 10.1007/s00425-019-03104-7. Epub 2019 Feb 2.


OsbZIP42 is a positive regulator of ABA signaling and drought stress tolerance. The activation of OsbZIP42 depends on stress-/ABA-activated protein kinase 4 (SAPK4) and an additional ABA-dependent modification of OsbZIP42. Basic leucine zipper transcription factors (bZIP TFs) play important roles in the ABA signaling pathway in plants. Rice OsbZIP42 is a member of the group E bZIP, which is an ortholog of Arabidopsis group A bZIP. This latter group includes abscisic acid-responsive element (ABRE)-binding factors (ABFs) involved in abiotic stress tolerance. The expression of OsbZIP42 was induced by ABA treatment, although it was not induced by drought and salt stresses. Unlike other bZIP TFs, OsbZIP42 contained two transcriptional activation domains. Although the full-length OsbZIP42 protein did not, the N-terminus of the protein interacted with SAPK4. Our results suggest that the activation of OsbZIP42 by SAPK4 requires another ABA-dependent modification of OsbZIP42. Transgenic rice overexpressing OsbZIP42 (OsbZIP42-OX) exhibited a rapidly elevated expression of the ABA-responsive LEA3 and Rab16 genes and was hypersensitive to ABA. Analyses of the OsbZIP42-OX plants revealed enhanced tolerance to drought stress. These results suggest that OsbZIP42 is a positive regulator of ABA signaling and drought stress tolerance depending on its activation, which is followed by an additional ABA-dependent modification. We propose that OsbZIP42 is an important player in rice for conferring ABA-dependent drought tolerance.

Keywords: Abiotic stress; Abscisic acid; Basic leucine zipper transcription factor; Oryza sativa.

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Droughts
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics
  • Oryza / drug effects*
  • Oryza / genetics
  • Oryza / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / drug effects
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Plant Proteins
  • Abscisic Acid