Expression of abiotic stress inducible ETHE1-like protein from rice is higher in roots and is regulated by calcium



ETHYLMALONIC ENCEPHALOPATHY PROTEIN 1 (ETHE1) encodes sulfur dioxygenase (SDO) activity regulating sulfide levels in living organisms. It is an essential gene and mutations in ETHE1 leads to ethylmalonic encephalopathy (EE) in humans and embryo lethality in Arabidopsis. At present, very little is known regarding the role of ETHE1 beyond the context of EE and almost nothing is known about factors affecting its regulation in plant systems. In this study, we have identified, cloned and characterized OsETHE1, a gene encoding ETHE1-like protein from Oryza sativa. ETHE1 proteins in general are most similar to glyoxalase II (GLYII) and hence OsETHE1 has been earlier annotated as OsGLYII1, a putative GLYII gene. Here we show that OsETHE1 lacks GLYII activity and is instead an ETHE1 homolog being localized in mitochondria like its human and Arabidopsis counterparts. We have isolated and analyzed 1618 bp OsETHE1 promoter (pOsETHE1) to examine the factors affecting OsETHE1 expression. For this, transcriptional promoter pOsETHE1: 5-bromo-5-chloro-3-indolyl-β-D-glucuronide (GUS) fusion construct was made and stably transformed into rice. GUS expression pattern of transgenic pOsETHE1:GUS plants reveal a high root-specific expression of OsETHE1. The pOsETHE1 activity was stimulated by Ca(II) and required light for induction. Moreover, pOsETHE1 activity was induced under various abiotic stresses such as heat, salinity and oxidative stress, suggesting a potential role of OsETHE1 in stress response.