A (conditional) role for labdane-related diterpenoid natural products in rice stomatal closure.


Zhang J(1)(2), Li R(3), Xu M(1), Hoffmann RI(1), Zhang Y(2), Liu B(3), Zhang M(2), Yang B(3)(4), Li Z(2)(5), Peters RJ(1).
Author information:
(1)Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA.
(2)State Key Laboratory of Physiology and Biochemistry, College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, China.
(3)Division of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO, 65211, USA.
(4)Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St Louis, MO, 63132, USA.
(5)College of Plant Science and Technology, Huazhong Agriculture University, Wuhan, Hubei, 430070, China.


Rice (Oryza sativa) is the staple food for over half the world's population. Drought stress imposes major constraints on rice yields. Intriguingly, labdane-related diterpenoid (LRD) phytoalexins in maize (Zea mays) affect drought tolerance, as indicated by the increased susceptibility of an insertion mutant of the class II diterpene cyclase ZmCPS2/An2 that initiates such biosynthesis. Rice also produces LRD phytoalexins, utilizing OsCPS2 and OsCPS4 to initiate a complex metabolic network. For genetic studies of rice LRD biosynthesis the fast-growing Kitaake cultivar was selected for targeted mutagenesis via CRISPR/Cas9, with an initial focus on OsCPS2 and OsCPS4. The resulting cps2 and cps4 knockout lines were further crossed to create a cps2x4 double mutant. Both CPSs also were overexpressed. Strikingly, all of the cv Kitaake cps mutants exhibit significantly increased susceptibility to drought, which was associated with reduced stomatal closure that was evident even under well-watered conditions. However, CPS overexpression did not increase drought resistance, and cps mutants in other cultivars did not alter susceptibility to drought, although these also exhibited lesser effects on LRD production. The results suggest that LRDs may act as a regulatory switch that triggers stomatal closure in rice, which might reflect the role of these openings in microbial entry.