Scientists Find Novel Small Signaling Peptide to Enhance Drought Tolerance in Rice
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It is reported that by 2050 the world population is expected to be about 9 billion. The world's ever-increasing population will require an abundance of food. However, crop plants are subjected to a variety of abiotic stresses, among which drought is the most complex and devastating factor.

In order to improve drought tolerance in agricultural crops, scientists from the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture (ISA) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences selected OsDSSR1 (O. sativa drought and salt stress response-1) for functional analysis in the abiotic stress response of rice.

OsDSSR1 was found to be expressed mainly in the roots, sheaths, nodes, leaves, and panicles of rice plants. OsDSSR1 expression was also found to be induced by drought, salinity, ABA, and hydrogen peroxide treatment. Transgenic rice plants overexpressing OsDSSR1 exhibited enhanced drought stress tolerance and decreased ABA sensitivity compared to wild types.

Also, transgenic plants overexpressing OsDSSR1 promoted the accumulation of osmolytes, such as free proline and soluble sugars. RNA-sequencing data demonstrated that the expressions of 72 abiotic stress-responsive genes were significantly altered in the transgenic plants.

"Our research will be beneficial to molecular breeding programs. I hope that our findings will provide new information and help to expand our understanding of the mechanisms by which small peptides mediate drought tolerance in crop species," said CUI Yanchun from ISA.

Their study entitled "OsDSSR1, a novel small peptide, enhances drought tolerance in transgenic rice" was published in Plant Science.

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Hunan Province Natural Science Foundation of China, the Open Research Fund of the State Key Laboratory of Hybrid Rice and the Youth Innovation Team Project of ISA, CAS.

Contact: Xia Xinjie


Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences