, Volume 230, Issue 5, pp 985–1002 | Cite as

Identification of up-regulated genes in flag leaves during rice grain filling and characterization of OsNAC5, a new ABA-dependent transcription factor

  • Raul A. Sperotto
  • Felipe K. Ricachenevsky
  • Guilherme L. Duarte
  • Tatiana Boff
  • Karina L. Lopes
  • Edilena R. Sperb
  • Michael A. Grusak
  • Janette Palma FettEmail author
Original Article


Rice is a poor source of micronutrients such as iron and zinc. To help clarify the molecular mechanisms that regulate metal mobilization from leaves to developing seeds, we conducted suppression subtractive hybridization analysis in flag leaves of two rice cultivars. Flag leaves are the major source of remobilized metals for developing seeds. We isolated 78 sequences up-regulated in flag leaves at the grain filling stage relative to the panicle exertion stage. Differential expression of selected genes (encoding 7 transport proteins, the OsNAS3 enzyme and the OsNAC5 transcription factor) was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. We show that OsNAC5 expression is up-regulated by natural (aging) and induced senescence processes (dark, ABA application, high salinity, cold and Fe-deficiency) and its expression is not affected in the presence of 6-benzylaminopurine (a senescence inhibitor) under dark-induced senescence. Salt induction of OsNAC5 expression is abolished by nicotinamide, an inhibitor of ABA effects. This result and the presence of cis-acting elements in the promoter region of the OsNAC5 gene suggest an ABA-dependent regulation. Using four different rice cultivars, we show that OsNAC5 up-regulation is higher and earlier in flag leaves and panicles of IR75862 plants, which have higher seed concentrations of Fe, Zn and protein. We suggest that OsNAC5 is a novel senescence-associated ABA-dependent NAC transcription factor and its function could be related to Fe, Zn and amino acids remobilization from green tissues to seeds.


ABA-responsive Correlation analyses Flag leaves Grain filling Metal mobilization Senescence Suppression subtractive hybridization 



Abscisic acid


ATP-binding cassette






Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy


2,4-Morpholino-ethane sulfonic acid


Monosaccharide transporter




Nicotianamine synthase


Oligopeptide transporter


Peptide transporter




Suppression subtractive hybridization


Sugar transport protein



This research was supported by HarvestPlus (Agreement number 6005-05), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) to JPF, and by the USDA-ARS under Agreement number 58-6250-6-003 to MAG. The authors thank Instituto Rio-Grandense do Arroz (IRGA) for technical support. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the US Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the US Government.

Supplementary material

425_2009_1000_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (291 kb)
Fig. 1 Copper (a), Manganese (b) and Molybdenum (c) concentrations in whole seeds from eight diverse rice cultivars. Seeds were collected at full maturity (R9 stage). Values are the averages of three samples ± SE. Means indicated by different letters are different by the Tukey HSD test (P ≤ 0.05). DW = dry weight. (JPG 291 kb)
425_2009_1000_MOESM2_ESM.jpg (221 kb)
Fig. 2 Relative expression levels (qRT-PCR, relative to Ubiquitin expression) of OsNAC5 in flag leaves of eight diverse rice genotypes collected in R3 (panicle exertion) and R5 (grain filling) stages. Values are the averages of three samples ± SE. Means with one asterisk are different by t test (P ≤ 0.05). (JPG 220 kb)
425_2009_1000_MOESM3_ESM.doc (172 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 171 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raul A. Sperotto
    • 1
  • Felipe K. Ricachenevsky
    • 1
  • Guilherme L. Duarte
    • 1
  • Tatiana Boff
    • 1
  • Karina L. Lopes
    • 2
  • Edilena R. Sperb
    • 2
  • Michael A. Grusak
    • 3
  • Janette Palma Fett
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Centro de BiotecnologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de BotânicaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research CenterBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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