Rice F-bZIP transcription factors regulate the zinc deficiency response

Grmay H. Lilay, Pedro Humberto Castro, Joana G. Guedes, Diego M. Almeida, Ana Campilho, Herlander Azevedo, Mark G.M. Aarts, Nelson J.M. Saibo, Ana G.L. Assunção*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The F-bZIP transcription factors bZIP19 and bZIP23 are the central regulators of the zinc deficiency response in Arabidopsis, and phylogenetic analysis of F-bZIP homologs across land plants indicates that the regulatory mechanism of the zinc deficiency response may be conserved. Here, we identified the rice F-bZIP homologs and investigated their function. OsbZIP48 and OsbZIP50, but not OsbZIP49, complement the zinc deficiency-hypersensitive Arabidopsis bzip19bzip23 double mutant. Ectopic expression of OsbZIP50 in Arabidopsis significantly increases plant zinc accumulation under control zinc supply, suggesting an altered Zn sensing in OsbZIP50. In addition, we performed a phylogenetic analysis of F-bZIP homologs from representative monocot species that supports the branching of plant F-bZIPs into Group 1 and Group 2. Our results suggest that regulation of the zinc deficiency response in rice is conserved, with OsbZIP48 being a functional homolog of AtbZIP19 and AtbZIP23. A better understanding of the mechanisms behind the Zn deficiency response in rice and other important crops will contribute to develop plant-based strategies to address the problems of Zn deficiency in soils, crops, and cereal-based human diets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3664-3677
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2020


  • Biofortification
  • F-bZIP
  • monocots
  • phylogenetic analysis
  • rice (Oryza sativa)
  • zinc deficiency
  • ZIP transporters


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