Image_3_Cis-Effects Condition the Induction of a Major Unfolded Protein Response Factor, ZmbZIP60, in Response to Heat Stress in Maize.pdf (26.62 kB)
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Image_3_Cis-Effects Condition the Induction of a Major Unfolded Protein Response Factor, ZmbZIP60, in Response to Heat Stress in Maize.pdf

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posted on 29.06.2018, 08:48 authored by Zhaoxia Li, Renu Srivastava, Jie Tang, Zihao Zheng, Stephen H. Howell

Adverse environmental conditions such as heat and salt stress create endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in maize and set off the unfolded protein response (UPR). A key feature of the UPR is the upregulation of ZmbZIP60 and the splicing of its messenger RNA. We conducted an association analysis of a recombinant inbred line (RIL) derived from a cross of a tropical founder line, CML52 with a standard temperate line, B73. We found a major QTL conditioning heat-induced ZmbZIP60 expression located cis to the gene. Based on the premise that the QTL might be associated with the ZmbZIP60 promoter, we evaluated various maize inbred lines for their ability to upregulate the expression of ZmbZIP60 in response to heat stress. In general, tropical lines with promoter regions similar to CML52 were more robust in upregulating ZmbZIP60 in response to heat stress. This finding was confirmed by comparing the strength of the B73 and CML52 ZmbZIP60 promoters in transient maize protoplast assays. We concluded that the upstream region of ZmbZIP60 is important in conditioning the response to heat stress and was under selection in maize when adapted to different environments.

Summary: Heat stress has large negative effects on maize grain yield. Heat stress creates ER stress in maize and sets off the UPR. We searched for factors conditioning heat induction of the UPR in maize seedlings by conducting an association analysis based on the upregulation of unspliced and spliced forms of ZmbZIP60 mRNA (ZmbZIP60u and ZmbZIP60s, respectively). ZmbZIP60u was upregulated more robustly by heat stress in the tropical maize line, CML52, than in B73, and a major QTL derived from the analysis of RILs from a cross of these two lines mapped in the vicinity of ZmbZIP60. We conducted a cis/trans test to determine whether the QTL was acting as a cis regulatory element or in trans, as might be expected for a transcription factor. We found that the QTL was acting in cis, likely involving the ZmbZIP60 promoter. ZmbZIP60 promoters in other temperate and tropical lines similar to CML52 showed enhanced expression of ZmbZIP60u by heat. The contribution of the CML52 promoter to heat induction of ZmbZIP60 was confirmed by analyzing the CML52 and B73 promoters linked to a luciferase reporter and assayed in heat-treated maize protoplasts.

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