Even though bicarbonate alkaline stress is a serious threat to crop growth and yields, it attracts much fewer researches than high salinity stress. The basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors have been well demonstrated to function in diverse abiotic stresses; however, their biological role in alkaline tolerance still remains elusive. In this study, we functionally characterized a bZIP gene from Glycine soja GsbZIP67 in bicarbonate alkaline stress responses.




GsbZIP67 was initially identified as a putative bicarbonate responsive gene, on the basis of previous RNA-seq data of 50 mM NaHCO3-treated Glycine soja roots. GsbZIP67 protein possessed a conserved bZIP domain, and belonged to the group S2 bZIP, which is yet less well-studied. Our studies showed that GsbZIP67 targeted to nucleus in Arabidopsis protoplasts, and displayed transcriptional activation activity in yeast cells. The quantitative real-time PCR analyses unraveled the bicarbonate stress responsive expression and tissue specific expression of GsbZIP67 in wild soybean. Further phenotypic analysis illustrated that GsbZIP67overexpression in alfalfa promoted plant growth under bicarbonate alkaline stress, as evidenced by longer roots and shoots. Furthermore, GsbZIP67overexpression also modified the physiological indices of transgenic alfalfa under bicarbonate alkaline stress. In addition, the expression levels of several stress responsive genes were also augmented by GsbZIP67 overexpression.