The WRKY transcription factor family is one of the most important families in plants, playing a significant role in plant growth and development, as well as in stress responses. However, functional studies on the family in response to abiotic stresses are limited in poplar. In the present study, we cloned a WRKY transcription factor gene PagWRKY75, which was down-regulated during early stages of salt and osmotic stresses. The PagWRKY75 protein belongs to the WRKY IIc subfamily. It is located in the nucleus and can bind to the W box. We obtained transgenic poplar lines with PagWRKY75 overexpression or inhibited expression by RNA interference. Stress treatment experiments indicated that the transgenic poplar lines overexpressing PagWRKY75 were more sensitive to salt and osmotic stresses, compared to wild type. The transgenic lines with PagWRKY75 inhibition displayed opposite effects. Furthermore, our results showed that PagWRKY75 can reduce the ability of reactive oxygen species scavenging and the accumulation of proline under stresses, and positively regulate the water loss rate of leaves. These results indicate that the transcription factor PagWRKY75 can negatively regulate salt and osmotic tolerance by modulating various physiological processes.
- Abiotic stresses
- WRKY transcription factor