Plant Molecular Biology

, 71:483 | Cite as

Systematic identification of X1-homologous genes reveals a family involved in stress responses in rice

  • Yonghua Qin
  • Haiyan Ye
  • Ning Tang
  • Lizhong Xiong


X1-homologous genes (XHS) encode plant-specific proteins containing three major domains (XH, XS, zf-XS), but their functions are largely unknown. We report the systematic identification and characterization of XHS genes in the rice genome. Eleven putative XHS protein sequences (OXHS1–11) were identified in the sequenced genome of Oryza sativa japonica cv. Nipponbare, and these sequences, along with other plant XHS homologues, were classified into five subgroups based on phylogenetic analysis. Distinct diversification of the XHS proteins occurred between monocotyledon and dicotyledon plants. The OXHS family has diverse exon–intron structures and organizations of putative domains and motifs. The OXHS proteins showed no transactivation activity, and no interaction between the XH domain and the XS domain in yeast. Four representative OXHS proteins were targeted to cytoplasm, which contradicts the previous speculation that XHS proteins are putative transcription factors. All the OXHS genes are predominantly expressed in floral organs, and some are expressed in a wide range of tissues or organs in indica rice Minghui 63. Nine OXHS genes are responsive to at least one of the abiotic stresses including drought, salt, cold, and abscisic acid treatment. Over-expression of one stress-responsive gene OXHS2 in rice resulted in reduced tolerance to salt and drought stresses. These results suggest that the OXHS family may be functionally diversified and some members of this family may play important roles in regulating stress tolerance in rice.


Oryza XHS family Abiotic stress Over-expression 



Abscisic acid


X1 homologue


XH and XS domain


Polymerase chain reaction


Reverse transcription



This work was supported by grants from the National Special Key Project of China on Functional Genomics of Major Plants and Animals, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Ministry of Education of China.

Supplementary material

11103_2009_9535_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2.4 mb)
(DOC 2479 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yonghua Qin
    • 1
  • Haiyan Ye
    • 1
  • Ning Tang
    • 1
  • Lizhong Xiong
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center of Plant Gene Research (Wuhan), National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic ImprovementHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina

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