Journal Article

Novel Drought-Inducible Genes in the Highly Drought-Tolerant Cowpea: Cloning of cDNAs and Analysis of the Expression of the Corresponding Genes

Satoshi Iuchi, Kazuko Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, Takeshi Urao, Tomio Terao and Kazuo Shinozaki

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 37, issue 8, pages 1073-1082
Published in print December 1996 | ISSN: 0032-0781
e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.pcp.a029056
Novel Drought-Inducible Genes in the Highly Drought-Tolerant Cowpea: Cloning of cDNAs and Analysis of the Expression of the Corresponding Genes

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Ten cDNAs of genes that were induced by dehydration stress were cloned by differential screening from the highly drought-tolerant legume, cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), a major crop in West Africa. The clones were collectively named CPRD (cowpea clones responsive to dehydration). Northern blot analysis revealed that nine of the CPRD genes were induced by dehydration stress, but the timing of induction of mRNA synthesis varied among the CPRD genes. We analyzed the effects of other environmental stresses on the expression of the CPRD8, CPRD14 and CPRD22 genes, and we found that these genes were strongly induced by high-salinity stress but not by cold or heat stress. Drought-stressed cowpea plants accumulated abscisic acid (ABA) to a level that was 160 times higher than that in unstressed plants. The CPRD8 and CPRD22 genes were induced to a significant extent by the application of exogenous ABA but the CPRD14 gene was not. These results indicate the existence of at least two signal-transduction pathways between the detection of water stress and the expression of CPRD genes in cowpea. Sequence analysis of CPRD8 and CPRD22 cDNAs revealed that they encoded putative proteins that were related to old yellow enzyme and group 2 LEA proteins, respectively. The protein encoded by CPRD14 exhibited sequence homology to dihydroflavonol-4-reductase (DFR) and vestitone reductase (VR). Old yellow enzyme, DFR and VR have not been identified as drought-inducible proteins in other plants, whereas LEA genes have been well characterized as drought-inducible genes. The various gene products might function to protect cells from environmental stress.

Keywords: Abscisic acid; Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata); Drought; Gene expression; Stress response

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Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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