Overexpression of OsERF83, a Vascular Tissue-Specific Transcription Factor Gene, Confers Drought Tolerance in Rice

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jul 17;22(14):7656. doi: 10.3390/ijms22147656.


Abiotic stresses severely affect plant growth and productivity. To cope with abiotic stresses, plants have evolved tolerance mechanisms that are tightly regulated by reprogramming transcription factors (TFs). APETALA2/ethylene-responsive factor (AP2/ERF) transcription factors are known to play an important role in various abiotic stresses. However, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms remains incomplete. In this study, we identified the role of OsERF83, a member of the AP2/ERF transcription factor family, in response to drought stress. OsERF83 is a transcription factor localized to the nucleus and induced in response to various abiotic stresses, such as drought and abscisic acid (ABA). Overexpression of OsERF83 in transgenic plants (OsERF83OX) significantly increased drought tolerance, with higher photochemical efficiency in rice. OsERF83OX was also associated with growth retardation, with reduced grain yields under normal growth conditions. OsERF83 is predominantly expressed in the vascular tissue of all organs. Transcriptome analysis revealed that OsERF83 regulates drought response genes, which are related to the transporter (OsNPF8.10, OsNPF8.17, OsLH1), lignin biosynthesis (OsLAC17, OsLAC10, CAD8D), terpenoid synthesis (OsTPS33, OsTPS14, OsTPS3), cytochrome P450 family (Oscyp71Z4, CYP76M10), and abiotic stress-related genes (OsSAP, OsLEA14, PCC13-62). OsERF83 also up-regulates biotic stress-associated genes, including PATHOGENESIS-RELATED PROTEIN (PR), WALL-ASSOCIATED KINASE (WAK), CELLULOSE SYNTHASE-LIKE PROTEIN E1 (CslE1), and LYSM RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE (RLK) genes. Our results provide new insight into the multiple roles of OsERF83 in the cross-talk between abiotic and biotic stress signaling pathways.

Keywords: CRISPR/rCas9; ERF transcription factor; Oryza sativa; OsERF83; drought tolerance; plant growth; vascular tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Droughts
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Oryza / growth & development
  • Oryza / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors