RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) have been implicated as regulatory proteins involved in the post-transcriptional processes of gene expression in plants under various stress conditions. In this study, we report the cloning and characterization of a gene, designated as EgRBP42, encoding a member of the plant heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP)-like RBP family from oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.). EgRBP42 consists of two N-terminal RNA recognition motifs and a glycine-rich domain at the C-terminus. The upstream region of EgRBP42 has multiple light-responsive, stress-responsive regulatory elements and regulatory elements associated with flower development. Real-time RT-PCR analysis of EgRBP42 showed that EgRBP42 was expressed in oil palm tissues tested, including leaf, shoot apical meristem, root, female inflorescence, male inflorescence and mesocarp with the lowest transcript level in the roots. EgRBP42 protein interacted with transcripts associated with transcription, translation and stress responses using pull-down assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay. The accumulation of EgRBP42 and its interacting transcripts were induced by abiotic stresses, including salinity, drought, submergence, cold and heat stresses in leaf discs. Collectively, the data suggested that EgRBP42 is a RBP, which responds to various abiotic stresses and could be advantageous for oil palm under stress conditions. Key message EgRBP42 may be involved in the post-transcriptional regulation of stress-related genes important for plant stress response and adaptation.
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