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A variable cluster of ethylene response factor-like genes regulates metabolic and developmental acclimation responses to submergence in rice.

  • Author(s): Fukao, Takeshi
  • Xu, Kenong
  • Ronald, Pamela C
  • Bailey-Serres, Julia
  • et al.

Submergence-1 (Sub1), a major quantitative trait locus affecting tolerance to complete submergence in lowland rice (Oryza sativa), contains two or three ethylene response factor (ERF)-like genes whose transcripts are regulated by submergence. In the submergence-intolerant japonica cultivar M202, this locus encodes two ERF genes, Sub1B and Sub1C. In the tolerant near-isogenic line containing the Sub1 locus from the indica FR13A, M202(Sub1), the locus additionally encodes the ERF gene Sub1A. During submergence, the tolerant M202(Sub1) displayed restrained leaf and internode elongation, chlorophyll degradation, and carbohydrate consumption, whereas the enzymatic activities of pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase were increased significantly compared with the intolerant M202. Transcript levels of genes associated with carbohydrate consumption, ethanolic fermentation, and cell expansion were distinctly regulated in the two lines. Sub1A and Sub1C transcript levels were shown to be upregulated by submergence and ethylene, with the Sub1C allele in M202 also upregulated by treatment with gibberellic acid (GA). These findings demonstrate that the Sub1 region haplotype determines ethylene- and GA-mediated metabolic and developmental responses to submergence through differential expression of Sub1A and Sub1C. Submergence tolerance in lowland rice is conferred by a specific allele variant of Sub1A that dampens ethylene production and GA responsiveness, causing quiescence in growth that correlates with the capacity for regrowth upon desubmergence.

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