A maize stress-responsive Di19 transcription factor, ZmDi19-1, confers enhanced tolerance to salt in transgenic Arabidopsis

  • Xingen Zhang
  • Huilin Cai
  • Meng Lu
  • Qiye Wei
  • Lijuan Xu
  • Chen Bo
  • Qing Ma
  • Yang ZhaoEmail author
  • Beijiu ChengEmail author
Original Article


Key message

ZmDi19-1 can be induced by various abiotic stresses and enhance the salt tolerance of transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana.


Drought-induced protein 19 (Di19) is an essential zinc finger family member that plays vital roles in regulating multiple stress responses. Here, the Di19 family gene in maize (Zea mays) ZmDi19-1 was characterized. We determined that ZmDi19-1 is constitutively expressed in root, stem, leaf and other maize tissues under normal conditions. In addition, ZmDi19-1 expression was induced by PEG and NaCl stresses. The subcellular localization revealed that ZmDi19-1 is a nuclear membrane protein. In yeast cells, ZmDi19-1 displayed transcriptional activity and could bind to the TACA(A/G)T sequence, which was corroborated using the dual luciferase reporter assay system. The overexpression of ZmDi19-1 in Arabidopsis thaliana enhanced the plants’ tolerance to salt stress. Compared with wild-type, the Arabidopsis ZmDi19-1-overexpressing lines had higher relative water and proline contents, and lower malondialdehyde contents, in leaves under salt-stress conditions. The transcriptome analysis revealed 1414 upregulated and 776 downregulated genes, and an RNA-seq analysis identified some differentially expressed genes, which may be downstream of ZmDi19-1, involved in salt-stress responses. The data demonstrated that ZmDi19-1 responds to salt stress and may impact the expression of stress-related genes in Arabidopsis.


Drought-induced 19 family ZmDi19-1 Salt stress Transcriptome 



Abscisic acid


Green fluorescent protein




Relative electrical leakage


Open reading frame


Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31871627, 31701436) and the Science and Technology Major Project of Anhui Province (18030701180).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

299_2019_2467_MOESM1_ESM.tif (7.3 mb)
Fig S1 Validation of transgenic Arabidopsis overexpressing ZmDi19-1. a PCR analysis of transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana using ZmDi19-1 gene primers. b GUS staining of ZmDi19-1 transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana (TIFF 7511 kb)
299_2019_2467_MOESM2_ESM.tif (4.7 mb)
Fig S2 Numbers of differentially expressed genes (TIFF 4836 kb)
299_2019_2467_MOESM3_ESM.tif (14.7 mb)
Fig S3 Expression levels of ABA-related genes in ZmDi19-1 transgenic Arabidopsis and WT after salt-stress treatments (TIFF 15050 kb)
299_2019_2467_MOESM4_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Table S1 Twenty-eight differentially expressed genes (DOCX 17 kb)
299_2019_2467_MOESM5_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Table S2 Primers used in this study (DOCX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xingen Zhang
    • 1
  • Huilin Cai
    • 1
  • Meng Lu
    • 1
  • Qiye Wei
    • 1
  • Lijuan Xu
    • 1
  • Chen Bo
    • 1
  • Qing Ma
    • 1
  • Yang Zhao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Beijiu Cheng
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.National Engineering Laboratory of Crop Stress Resistance Breeding, School of Life SciencesAnhui Agricultural UniversityHefeiChina

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