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【Nature Communications】A double-stranded RNA binding protein enhances drought resistance via protein phase separation in rice
来源: 时间:2024-03-22

Huaijun Wang, Tiantian Ye, Zilong Guo, Yilong Yao, Haifu Tu, Pengfei Wang, Yu Zhang, Yao Wang, Xiaokai Li, Bingchen Li, Haiyan Xiong, Xuelei Lai, Lizhong Xiong

Nature Communications volume15, Article number: 2514(2024), Published: 21 March 2024


Drought stress significantly impacts global rice production, highlighting the critical need to understand the genetic basis of drought resistance in rice. Here, through a genome-wide association study, we reveal that natural variations in DROUGHT RESISTANCE GENE 9 (DRG9), encoding a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) binding protein, contribute to drought resistance. Under drought stress, DRG9 condenses into stress granules (SGs) through liquid-liquid phase separation via a crucial α-helix. DRG9 recruits the mRNAs of OsNCED4, a key gene for the biosynthesis of abscisic acid, into SGs and protects them from degradation. In drought-resistant DRG9 allele, natural variations in the coding region, causing an amino acid substitution (G267F) within the zinc finger domain, increase DRG9’s binding ability toOsNCED4 mRNA and enhance drought resistance. Introgression of the drought-resistant DRG9 allele into the elite rice Huanghuazhan significantly improves its drought resistance. Thus, our study underscores the role of a dsRNA-binding protein in drought resistance and its promising value in breeding drought-resistant rice.