Natural Variation in OsLG3 Increases Drought Tolerance in Rice by Inducing ROS Scavenging
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Improving the performance of rice (Oryza satire) under drought stress has the potential to significantly affect rice productivity. Here, we report that the ERF family transcription factor OsLG3 positively regulates drought tolerance in rice. In our previous work, we found that OsLG3 has a positive effect on rice grain length without affecting grain quality. In this study, we found that OsLG3 was more strongly expressed in upland rice than in lowland rice under drought stress conditions. By performing candidate gene association analysis, we found that natural variation in the promoter of OsLG3 is associated with tolerance to osmotic stress in germinating rice seeds. Overexpression of OsLG3 significantly improved the tolerance of rice plants to simulated drought, whereas suppression of OsLG3 resulted in greater susceptibility. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the tolerant allele of OsLG3 may improve drought tolerance in cultivated japonica rice. Introgression lines and complementation transgenic lines containing the elite allele of OsLG3(IRAT709) showed increased drought tolerance, demonstrating that natural variation in OsLG3 contributes to drought tolerance in rice. Further investigation suggested that OsLG3 plays a positive role in drought stress tolerance in rice by inducing reactive oxygen species scavenging. Collectively, our findings reveal that natural variation in OsLG3 contributes to rice drought tolerance and that the elite allele of OsLG3 is a promising genetic resource for the development of drought-tolerant rice varieties.
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