The rice SUB1A-1 gene, which encodes a group VII ethylene response factor (ERFVII), plays a pivotal role in rice survival under flooding stress, as well as other abiotic stresses. In Arabidopsis, five ERFVII factors play roles in regulating hypoxic responses. A characteristic feature of Arabidopsis ERFVIIs is a destabilizing N terminus, which functions as an N-degron that targets them for degradation via the oxygen-dependent N-end rule pathway of proteolysis, but permits their stabilization during hypoxia for hypoxia-responsive signaling. Despite having the canonical N-degron sequence, SUB1A-1 is not under N-end rule regulation, suggesting a distinct hypoxia signaling pathway in rice during submergence. Herein we show that two other rice ERFVIIs gene, ERF66 and ERF67, are directly transcriptionally up-regulated by SUB1A-1 under submergence. In contrast to SUB1A-1, ERF66 and ERF67 are substrates of the N-end rule pathway that are stabilized under hypoxia and may be responsible for triggering a stronger transcriptional response to promote submergence survival. In support of this, overexpression of ERF66 or ERF67 leads to activation of anaerobic survival genes and enhanced submergence tolerance. Furthermore, by using structural and protein-interaction analyses, we show that the C terminus of SUB1A-1 prevents its degradation via the N-end rule and directly interacts with the SUB1A-1 N terminus, which may explain the enhanced stability of SUB1A-1 despite bearing an N-degron sequence. In summary, our results suggest that SUB1A-1, ERF66, and ERF67 form a regulatory cascade involving transcriptional and N-end rule control, which allows rice to distinguish flooding from other SUB1A-1-regulated stresses.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 5 Feb 2019|
- ethylene response factors
- transcriptional regulation
- N-end rule pathway