OsWRKY53’s peculiar role in suppressing rice’s resistance to cold weather

Rice output and quality are gravely threatened by cold stress at the booting stage, which causes a decrease in the rate of seed germination.

The Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology (IGA) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) recently conducted research under the direction of Prof. Qingyun Bu that revealed OsWRKY53 adversely regulates rice cold tolerance at booting stage, providing a target for improving rice cold tolerance at the booting stage.

On August 16th, 2022, the study was published in The Plant Cell.

The role of the transcription factor OsWRKY53 in rice cold tolerance at the booting stage was described by the researchers. Cold stress causes OsWRKY53 expression to increase.

At the booting stage, the oswrky53 mutant exhibits higher cold tolerance along with higher seed setting, stronger pollen fertility, and typically degenerating tapetum. On the other hand, under normal or low temperature conditions, the OsWRKY53 overexpressing plants exhibit a lower seed setting rate, weaker pollen fertility, and abnormal tapetum degeneration.

According to Prof. Bu’s findings, OsWRKY53 appears to negatively influence rice cold tolerance during the tapetum growth and booting stage.

Furthermore, OsWRKY53 negatively controls the amount of gibberellin (GA) in anthers. When rice is in the booting stage, GA can increase its ability to withstand cold temperatures, and under cold stress, oswrky53 anthers have more GA content than wild type. OsWRKY53 binds directly to the GA biosynthesis genes’ promoters (GA20ox1, GA20ox2, and GA3ox1) and suppresses the expression of these genes in anthers.

The Chinese National Natural Science Foundation, the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Strategic Priority Research Program, and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association provided funding for the study.

Journal reference:

Tang, J., et al (2022) WRKY53 negatively regulates rice cold tolerance at the booting stage by fine-tuning anther gibberellin levels Get access Arrow. The Plant Cell. doi:10.1093/plcell/koac253


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