Apple Protein MdBT2 Lowers Drought Tolerance by Targeting MdHDZ27

Jenn Hoskins
13th April, 2024

Apple Protein MdBT2 Lowers Drought Tolerance by Targeting MdHDZ27

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Linyi University found a protein, MdHDZ27, that helps apple trees resist drought
  • MdHDZ27 works by turning on genes that fight dehydration, improving drought tolerance
  • Another protein, MdBT2, limits MdHDZ27's effects by marking it for cellular breakdown
Drought is a major threat to agriculture, often leading to reduced crop yields and fruit quality. Understanding how plants cope with water scarcity is crucial for developing strategies to improve their resilience. In apples, a popular fruit crop, the molecular processes that govern drought tolerance are not well understood. A recent study from researchers at Linyi University[1] sheds light on this issue by identifying a new player in the plant's response to drought: a protein called MdBT2. The study focused on a specific type of protein known as a transcription factor, which regulates the activity of genes. The researchers discovered a new transcription factor in apples, named MdHDZ27, that plays a key role in enhancing the plant's drought tolerance. This protein does so by activating genes that are involved in the plant's response to dehydration, such as MdRD29A and MdRD29B. When the plants were genetically modified to produce more MdHDZ27, they showed improved tolerance to drought conditions, which is a promising finding for agriculture. However, the study also revealed that the beneficial effects of MdHDZ27 are kept in check by MdBT2. The MdBT2 protein interacts with MdHDZ27 and tags it for destruction within the cell through a process known as ubiquitination, a part of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS)[2]. This system acts like a cellular garbage disposal, where proteins are marked with ubiquitin and then degraded by the proteasome, a protein complex designed for this purpose. By degrading MdHDZ27, MdBT2 reduces the plant's ability to activate its drought response genes. Interestingly, this isn't the first time MdBT2 has been implicated in plant stress responses. Previous research has shown that MdBT2 can influence cold tolerance and anthocyanin production, which are important for protecting plants against cold stress and oxidative damage, respectively[3][4]. MdBT2 has also been noted for its role in regulating leaf senescence, the process of aging in leaves, which is influenced by jasmonic acid, a plant hormone[5]. These studies together highlight the multifaceted role of MdBT2 in plant biology, acting as a regulator that can either promote or inhibit various stress responses depending on the context. The findings from Linyi University expand our understanding of drought tolerance mechanisms in apple plants and open up new avenues for enhancing stress resistance in crops. By manipulating the levels of MdHDZ27 and MdBT2, it may be possible to develop apple varieties that can better withstand dry conditions, which would be a significant advancement in the face of climate change and water scarcity. The methods used in the study to uncover the roles of MdHDZ27 and MdBT2 involved a combination of genetic engineering, protein interaction assays, and analysis of gene expression. These techniques allowed the researchers to not only identify the key proteins involved but also to understand how they interact and influence the plant's response to drought at the molecular level. In conclusion, the study from Linyi University adds to a growing body of research on how plants manage stress, highlighting the importance of the UPS in regulating the stability of proteins that control stress responses[2]. By revealing the interaction between MdBT2 and MdHDZ27, the research provides valuable insights into the complex regulatory networks that enable plants to survive in challenging environments. This knowledge is essential for developing new strategies to increase crop resilience, ensuring food security in a changing climate.

AgricultureBiotechPlant Science


Main Study

1) The BTB-BACK-TAZ domain protein MdBT2 reduces drought resistance by weakening the positive regulatory effect of MdHDZ27 on apple drought tolerance via ubiquitination.

Published 12th April, 2024

Related Studies

2) The ubiquitin-proteasome system as a transcriptional regulator of plant immunity.

3) R2R3-MYB transcription factor MdMYB23 is involved in the cold tolerance and proanthocyanidin accumulation in apple.

4) The ERF transcription factor MdERF38 promotes drought stress-induced anthocyanin biosynthesis in apple.

5) Apple BT2 protein negatively regulates jasmonic acid-triggered leaf senescence by modulating the stability of MYC2 and JAZ2.

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