The National Key Facility for Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement/Institute of Crop Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
AREB (ABA response element binding) proteins in plants play direct regulatory roles in response to multiple stresses, but their functions in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) are not clear. In the present study, TaAREB3, a new member of the AREB transcription factor family, was isolated from wheat. Sequence analysis showed that the TaAREB3 protein is composed of three parts, a conserved N-terminal, a variable M region, and a conserved C-terminal with a bZIP domain. It belongs to the group A subfamily of bZIP transcription factors. TaAREB3 was constitutively expressed in stems, leaves, florets, anthers, pistils, seeds, and most highly, in roots. TaAREB3 gene expression was induced with abscisic acid (ABA) and low temperature stress, and its protein was localized in the nucleus when transiently expressed in tobacco epidermal cells and stably expressed in transgenic Arabidopsis. TaAREB3 protein has transcriptional activation activity, and can bind to the ABRE cis-element in vitro. Overexpression of TaAREB3 in Arabidopsis not only enhanced ABA sensitivity, but also strengthened drought and freezing tolerances. TaAREB3 also activated RD29A, RD29B, COR15A, and COR47 by binding to their promoter regions in transgenic Arabidopsis. These results demonstrated that TaAREB3 plays an important role in drought and freezing tolerances in Arabidopsis.
Keywords: Abscisic acid, drought tolerance, freezing tolerance, gene expression