Structure-function relationship of Gossypium hirsutum NAC transcription factor, GhNAC4 with regard to ABA and abiotic stress responses

Vikas Shalibhadra Trishla, Pulugurtha Bharadwaja Kirti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Our previous study demonstrated that the expression of GhNAC4, a NAC transcription factor from cotton, was induced by abiotic stresses and abscisic acid (ABA). In the present study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying ABA and stress response of GhNAC4. Overexpression of GhNAC4 in transgenic tobacco conferred tolerance to salinity and drought treatments with associated enhanced expression of several stress-responsive marker genes. GhNAC4 is a protein that is translocated to the nucleus where it exhibits transcriptional activation property and also forms homo-dimers. In this study, we also investigated the domains essential for the biochemical functions of GhNAC4. We developed transgenic tobacco plants overexpressing the GhNAC4 NAC-domain and the transcriptional regulatory (TR) domain separately. NAC-domain transgenics showed hypersensitivity to exogenous ABA while TR-domain transgenics exhibited reduced sensitivity. Abiotic stress assays indicated that transgenic plants expressing both the domains separately were more tolerant than wild type plants with the NAC-domain transgenics showing increased tolerance as compared to TR-domain transgenics. Expression analysis revealed that various stress-responsive genes were upregulated in both NAC-domain and TR-domain transgenics under salinity and drought treatments. These results suggest that the stress tolerance ability of GhNAC4 is associated with both the component domains while the ABA responsiveness is largely associated with N-terminal NAC-domain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110718
JournalPlant Science
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Abiotic stress
  • Abscisic acid
  • Cotton
  • Domain analysis
  • NAC transcription factors
  • Transcriptional regulatory domain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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