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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 11, 2016

Overexpression of the novel Zygophyllum xanthoxylum C2H2-type zinc finger gene ZxZF improves drought tolerance in transgenic Arabidopsis and poplar

Yanguang Chu, Weixi Zhang, Bin Wu, Qinjun Huang, Bingyu Zhang and Xiaohua Su
From the journal Biologia


Zygophyllum xanthoxylum (Bunge) is a perennial woody succulent xerophyte that is one of the most drought-tolerant plant species identified to date. In this study, the gene encoding the novel C2H2-type zinc finger protein (ZFP) ZxZF was cloned from Z. xanthoxylum and expressed in both Arabidopsis thaliana and poplar (Populus × euramericana cl. Bofeng 1) under the control of the drought-inducible promoter rd29A. Overexpression in Arabidopsis resulted in a higher survival rate and enhanced root growth compared with wild type (WT) plants under osmotic stress conditions induced by mannitol. Overexpression in poplar under stress conditions induced by PEG6000 improved photosynthetic function as evidenced by a higher maximum photochemical activity of photosystem II (PSII) (Fv/Fm) and elevated chlorophyll content. Furthermore, leaf tissue of transgenic poplar accumulated less malondialdehyde (MDA), and both superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD) activities were elevated in transgenic plants. These results suggest that ZxZF overexpression played an essential role in drought tolerance in both Arabidopsis and poplar. Incorporating overexpression of ZxZF and other A1 subgroup C2H2 zinc finger proteins in plant breeding programs may result in enhanced drought tolerance.


This work was financially supported by the National High-Tech Research and Development Program (863 Program) from Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant No. 2013AA102703).


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zinc finger protein


wild type


photosystem II




superoxide dismutase








trichloroacetic acid


thiobarbituric acid

Received: 2016-4-5
Accepted: 2016-6-14
Published Online: 2016-8-11
Published in Print: 2016-7-1

©2016 Institute of Botany, Slovak Academy of Sciences