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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #311017

Research Project: Enhancing Resistance to Diseases and Abiotic Stresses in Alfalfa

Location: Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research

Title: Molecular and functional characterization of two drought-induced zinc finger proteins, ZmZnF1 and ZmZnF2 from maize kernels

Author
item Yu, Long Xi
item Shen, Xin - Cornell University - New York
item Setter, Tim - Cornell University - New York

Submitted to: Environmental and Experimental Botany
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/27/2014
Publication Date: 10/29/2014
Citation: Yu, L., Shen, X., Setter, T. 2014. Molecular and functional characterization of two drought-induced zinc finger proteins, ZmZnF1 and ZmZnF2 from maize kernels. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 111:13-20.

Interpretive Summary: As an original work, in this manuscript, we reported the results for a fundamental study of two zinc-finger proteins (ZmZnF1 or ZmZnF2) using multiple approaches. Using an effector-reporter strategy, we transiently expressed ZmZnF1 or ZmZnF2 with a reporter gene (GUS) driven by the rice actin1 promoter containing ABA responsive element, ABRC1 in maize suspension cells. Assay of GUS activity showed that both ZmZnF1 and ZmZnF2 activated the reporter gene expression. A synergistic effect on activation was found between ZmZnF2 and another ABA response factor, VP1. These results were confirmed by the complementary test using RNA interference technology. Our results suggest that both ZmZnF1 and ZmZnF2 are transcription activators and may play roles in regulating expression of drought-responsive genes or other transcription factors in response to abiotic stress. With further investigation, these genes may be used for improving tolerance to abiotic stress in cereal crops.

Technical Abstract: We have isolated two cDNA clones encoding Zinc Finger proteins, designated as ZmZnF1 and ZmZnF2, from water-stressed maize kernels. Sequence analyses indicates that ZmZnF1 is homologous to the A20/AN1-type zinc finger protein and contains the zinc finger motif of Cx2–Cx10–CxCx4Cx2Hx5HxC. Whereas ZmZnF2 is a ring-binding type and contains 3 repeats of the Cx-Cx-H-Cx-Cx zinc finger motif. RNA gel blot analyses indicate that both genes were significantly induced by ABA, osmotic stress (mannitol) and NaCl stress. Using an effector-reporter strategy, we transiently expressed ZmZnF1 or ZmZnF2 with the GUS reporter driven by the rice actin1 promoter containing ABA responsive element, ABRC1 in maize suspension cells. Assay of GUS activity showed that both ZmZnF1 and ZmZnF2 activated the reporter gene expression. A synergistic effect on activation was found between ZmZnF2 and another ABA response factor, VP1. These results were confirmed by the complementary test using RNAi technology. Our results suggest that both ZmZnF1 and ZmZnF2 are transcription activators and may play roles in regulating expression of drought-responsive genes or other transcription factors in response to abiotic stress.