15 March 2019
LIM proteins have been found to play important roles in many life activities, including the regulation of gene expression, construction of the cytoskeleton, signal transduction and metabolic regulation. Because of their important roles in many aspects of plant development, LIM genes have been studied in many plant species. However, the LIM gene family has not yet been characterized in foxtail millet. In this study, we analyzed the whole genome of foxtail millet and identified 10 LIM genes. All LIM gene promoters contain MYB and MYC cis-acting elements that are related to drought stress. Based on the presence of multiple abiotic stress-related cis-elements in the promoter of SiWLIM2b, we chose this gene for further study. We analyzed SiWLIM2b expression under abiotic stress and hormone treatments using qRT-PCR. We found that SiWLIM2b was induced by various abiotic stresses and hormones. Under drought conditions, transgenic rice of SiWLIM2b-overexpression had a higher survival rate, higher relative water content and less cell damage than wild type (WT) rice. These results indicate that overexpression of the foxtail millet SiWLIM2b gene enhances drought tolerance in transgenic rice, and the SiWLIM2b gene can potentially be used for molecular breeding of crops with increased resistance to abiotic stress.