Department of Biology, Basic Medical College of Hebei North University, Zhangjiakou, China
Department of Plant Protection, Agricultural and Forestry College of Hebei North University, Zhangjiakou, China
Department of Open Education Center, Zhangjiakou Radio and TV University, Zhangjiakou, China
Background: Stresses (such as drought, salt, viruses, and others) seriously affect plant productivity. To cope with these threats, plants express a large number of genes, including several members of ERD (early responsive to dehydration) genes to synthesize and assemble adaptive molecules. But, the function of ERD3 gene hasn’t been known so far.
Objectives: The purpose of the present study was to clone the stress-resistance gene: ZmERD3, and to analyze its expression pattern in the maize plant organs at different stages and under various stress treatments.
Materials and Methods: MaizeGDB database search together with the bioinformatics analysis led to the identification of ZmERD3 gene in Zea mays. The cDNA sequence and promoter of ZmERD3 gene were obtained through PCR. Bioinformatics analysis was performed through online tools. The tissue-specific expression profile of the ZmERD3 gene in maize plant was carried out using the quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) technique and its expression pattern in response to stress treatments (such as PEG, NaCl, ABA, and low temperature) was also analyzed through qRT-PCR method.
Results: Based on the homology alignment with AtERD3 (XP_002867953) in MaizeGDB (http://www. maizegdb.org/), the cDNA sequence and promoter region of the ZmERD3 gene were obtained. The bioinformatic analysis showed that ZmERD3 protein has one specific hit of methyltransferase and a high probability of location in the cytoplasm, and there are many cis-regulatory elements responsive to light, heat, cold, dehydration, as well as other stresses in its promoter sequence. Expression analysis revealed that the amount of ZmERD3 mRNA is different in all indicated organs of the maize plant. In addition, the ZmERD3 expression could be induced by abiotic stress treatments. Compared to the control, treatment with NaCl or PEG-6000 could significantly enhance the expression ability of ZmERD3 gene. As well, its expression level was increased about 20 times above the control after exposure to NaCl and PEG-6000 treatments for 3-6 h.
Conclusions: One putative methyltransferase gene, ZmERD3 was cloned. ZmERD3 expression exhibited an obvious tissue-specificity, and its expression could make a significant response to NaCl and PEG-6000 treatments.