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Clarifying the genetic background of the drought-tolerance trait is a crucial task that may help to improve plant performance under stress by a genetic engineering approach. Dehydration-responsive element-binding protein (DREB) is a transcription factor family which modulates many stress-responsive genes. In this study, we isolated a DREB homolog gene named ZmDREBtv from Zea mays var. Tevang-1. Using bioinformatic tools, a number of InDels and SNPs in ZmDREBtv sequence different from the reference accession were identified. In addition, based on deduced protein sequence similarity, ZmDREBtv was assigned to transcription factor DREB2 class as featured by a conserved DNA binding domain - AP2. The ZmDREBtv construct under thecontrol of the rd29A promoter was transformed into a drought-sensitive maize plant, K7 line. The transgenic plants were assessed with reference to molecular and phenotypic characteristics related to the drought-tolenrance trait. The results proved that the maize plants carrying ZmDREBtv gene showed enhanced tolerance and better performance to the water-deficit environment at different stages, compared to the wild-type plants.
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