Improving drought, salt, and freezing stress tolerance in transgenic plants



Plant productivity is greatly affected by environmental stresses such as drought, salt loading, and freezing. We reported that a cis-acting promoter element, the dehydration response element (DRE), plays an important role in regulating gene expression in response to these stresses in Arabidopsis. The transcrion factor DREB1A specifically interacts with the DRE and induces expression of stress tolerance genes. We show here that overexpression of the cDNA encoding DREB1A in transgenic Arabidopsis plants activated the expression of many of these stress tolerance genes under normal growing conditions and resulted in improved tolerance to drought, salt loading, and freezing. However, use of the strong constitutive 35S cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) promoter to drive expression of DREB1A also resulted in severe growth retardation under normal growing conditions. In contrast, expression of DREB1A from the stress inducible rd29A promoter gave rise to minimal effects on plant growth while providing an even greater tolerance to stress conditions than did expression of the gene from the CaMV promoter. As the DRE-related regulatory element is not limited to Arabidopsis the DREB1A cDNA and the rd29A promoter may be useful to improve the stress tolerance of agriculturally important crops by gene transfer.


Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences Biological Resources Division



Technical A

Term of research

FY1999 (FY1996-2000)

Responsible researcher

YAMAGUCHI-SHINOZAKI Kazuko ( Biological Resources Division )

KASUGA Mie ( Biological Resources Division )

LIU Qiang ( Biological Resources Division )

SHINWARI Zabta Khan ( Biological Resources Division )

Shinozaki Kazuo ( RIKEN )

KAKEN Researcher No.: 20124216

Japanese PDF

1999_03_A3_ja.pdf924.28 KB

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