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A novel stress-associated protein SbSAP14 from Sorghum bicolor confers tolerance to salt stress in transgenic rice

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We have characterized a member of the stress-associated protein (SAP) gene family from Sorghum bicolor (SbSAP14) with A20 and AN1 zinc-finger domains. Expression profiling revealed that SbSAP14 is specifically induced in response to dehydration, salt, and oxidative stress as well as abscisic acid treatment. During the early stage of salt stress, overexpression of SbSAP14 was able to prevent yellowing and withering of the leaf tip of rice plants. Measurements of malondialdehyde, ion leakage, and chlorophyll content demonstrated that transgenic rice had an enhanced tolerance to oxidative damage caused by salt stress. Under prolonged salt stress, transgenic rice plants had a higher seed germination rate and higher percentage seedling survival than wild-type (WT) plants. Importantly, in vivo and in situ assays revealed that the accumulation of reactive oxygen species in transgenic rice plants was significantly lower than that in WT plants. Among the six antioxidant genes tested, APX2, CatB, CatC, and SodA1 showed a higher expression level in transgenic rice than in WT rice. Based on these results, we propose that SbSAP14 may play a key role in antioxidant defense systems and possibly be involved in the induction of antioxidant genes in plants, suggesting a possible mechanism of the SAP gene family in stress defense response.

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Abscisic acid


Ascorbate peroxidase






Dehydroascorbate reductase


2’,7’-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate

H2O2 :

Hydrogen peroxide


Green fluorescent protein




Monodehydroascorbate reductase


Methyl viologen


Nitroblue tetrazolium

O ·−2 :

Superoxide radicals


Salicylic acid


Superoxide dismutase


Reactive oxygen species


Stress associated protein


Wild type


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We are grateful to Professor Chuxiong Zhuang (Key Laboratory of Plant Functional Genomics and Biotechnology, Education Department of Guangdong Province, South China Agricultural University) for help with the establishment of the rice protoplast isolation system. This research is supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province [9251063101000002], National Natural Science Foundation of China [31070261], and National Key Technology R & D Program in China [2007BAD59B06].

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Correspondence to Xiaojing Wang.

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Wang, Y., Zhang, L., Zhang, L. et al. A novel stress-associated protein SbSAP14 from Sorghum bicolor confers tolerance to salt stress in transgenic rice. Mol Breeding 32, 437–449 (2013).

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