Integrated ATAC-Seq and RNA-Seq Data Analysis to Reveal OsbZIP14 Function in Rice in Response to Heat Stress

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Mar 15;24(6):5619. doi: 10.3390/ijms24065619.


Transcription factors (TFs) play critical roles in mediating the plant response to various abiotic stresses, particularly heat stress. Plants respond to elevated temperatures by modulating the expression of genes involved in diverse metabolic pathways, a regulatory process primarily governed by multiple TFs in a networked configuration. Many TFs, such as WRKY, MYB, NAC, bZIP, zinc finger protein, AP2/ERF, DREB, ERF, bHLH, and brassinosteroids, are associated with heat shock factor (Hsf) families, and are involved in heat stress tolerance. These TFs hold the potential to control multiple genes, which makes them ideal targets for enhancing the heat stress tolerance of crop plants. Despite their immense importance, only a small number of heat-stress-responsive TFs have been identified in rice. The molecular mechanisms underpinning the role of TFs in rice adaptation to heat stress still need to be researched. This study identified three TF genes, including OsbZIP14, OsMYB2, and OsHSF7, by integrating transcriptomic and epigenetic sequencing data analysis of rice in response to heat stress. Through comprehensive bioinformatics analysis, we demonstrated that OsbZIP14, one of the key heat-responsive TF genes, contained a basic-leucine zipper domain and primarily functioned as a nuclear TF with transcriptional activation capability. By knocking out the OsbZIP14 gene in the rice cultivar Zhonghua 11, we observed that the knockout mutant OsbZIP14 exhibited dwarfism with reduced tiller during the grain-filling stage. Under high-temperature treatment, it was also demonstrated that in the OsbZIP14 mutant, the expression of the OsbZIP58 gene, a key regulator of rice seed storage protein (SSP) accumulation, was upregulated. Furthermore, bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) experiments uncovered a direct interaction between OsbZIP14 and OsbZIP58. Our results suggested that OsbZIP14 acts as a key TF gene through the concerted action of OsbZIP58 and OsbZIP14 during rice filling under heat stress. These findings provide good candidate genes for genetic improvement of rice but also offer valuable scientific insights into the mechanism of heat tolerance stress in rice.

Keywords: Oryza sativa L.; OsbZIP14; heat stress; transcription factors.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation Sequencing
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Heat-Shock Response / genetics
  • Humans
  • Oryza* / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism
  • RNA-Seq
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors
  • Plant Proteins