Biologia Plantarum

, 55:653 | Cite as

Inducible and constitutive expression of HvCBF4 in rice leads to differential gene expression and drought tolerance

  • T. Lourenço
  • N. Saibo
  • R. Batista
  • C. Pinto Ricardo
  • M. M. Oliveira


The effects of the ectopic expression of a barley transcription factor (HvCBF4) under the control of a constitutive (maize Ubi1) or a stress-inducible (Arabidopsis RD29A) promoter in the abiotic stress response in rice (Oryza sativa L.) was investigated. The transformed plants were analyzed both at molecular and physiological level and the AtRD29A::HvCBF4 plants were further analyzed using the GeneChip® rice genome array under control conditions. Only the plants constitutively expressing HvCBF4 have shown increased survival to drought stress, but not to cold or high-salinity. These plants have also shown better photosynthetic capacity, as determined by chlorophyll fluorescence. Plants expressing AtRD29A::HvCBF4 did not show increased survival to any of the stresses applied. However in the GeneChip® microarray, these plants have shown up-regulation of many stress-responsive genes (> 400) as compared to non-transformed plants. Interestingly, RT-PCR analysis revealed not only differential gene expression between roots and shoots, but also between transgenic lines with the different promoters. Our results indicate that different HvCBF4 expression levels resulted in different transcriptomes and drought tolerance. Given that AtRD29A::HvCBF4 plants did not show increased tolerance to any of the imposed stresses, we may conclude that this promoter may be inappropriate for rice transformation aiming for enhanced abiotic stress tolerance.

Additional key words

abiotic stress chlorophyll fluorescence microarray analysis Oryza sativa transcription factors transformation 



efficiency of the photosystem 2 photochemistry


electron transfer rate


photochemical quenching


non-photochemical quenching


relative water content



This work was financially supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia and Fundo Social Europeu through a PhD (SFRH/BD/10615/2002) and Post-Doc fellowships (SFRH/BPD/14541/2003) to TL and NS, respectively, and for the research project POCTI/BIA-BCM/56063/2004. The authors would also like to acknowledge Dr. Timothy Close (University of California, Riverside, USA) for the HvCBF4 clone.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Lourenço
    • 1
  • N. Saibo
    • 1
  • R. Batista
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Pinto Ricardo
    • 1
  • M. M. Oliveira
    • 1
  1. 1.ITQB-Universidade Nova de LisboLaboratório de Genómica de Plantas em StressOeirasPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto Nacional de Saúde Dr. Ricardo JorgeLisboaPortugal

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