OsRAN1 can improve cold tolerance in rice. It maintains cell division under cold conditions. Overexpression of OsRAN1 increases tiller number and alters root development.
Of the diverse abiotic stresses, low temperature is one of the major limiting factors that lead to a series of morphological, physiological, biochemical, and molecular changes in plants. Ran, an evolutionarily conserved small G-protein family, has been shown to be essential for the nuclear translocation of proteins. It also mediates the regulation of cell cycle progression in mammalian cells. However, little is known about Ran function in rice (Oryza sativa). We report here that Ran gene OsRAN1 is essential for the molecular improvement of rice for cold tolerance. Ran also affects plant morphogenesis in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana. OsRAN1 is ubiquitously expressed in rice tissues with the highest expression in the spike. The levels of mRNA encoding OsRAN1 were greatly increased by cold and indoleacetic acid treatment rather than by addition of salt and polyethylene glycol. Further, OsRAN1 overexpression in Arabidopsis increased tiller number, and altered root development. OsRAN1 overexpression in rice improves cold tolerance. The levels of cellular free Pro and sugar levels were highly increased in transgenic plants under cold stress. Under cold stress, OsRAN1 maintained cell division and cell cycle progression, and also promoted the formation of an intact nuclear envelope. The results suggest that OsRAN1 protein plays an important role in the regulation of cellular mitosis and the auxin signalling pathway.