Abscisic acid (ABA) response elements (ABREs) are a group of cis-acting DNA elements that have been identified from promoter analysis of many ABA-regulated genes in plants. We are interested in understanding the mechanism of binding specificity between ABREs and a class of bZIP transcription factors known as ABRE binding factors (ABFs). In this work, we have modeled the homodimeric structure of the bZIP domain of ABRE binding factor 1 from Arabidopsis thaliana (AtABF1) and studied its interaction with ACGT core motif-containing ABRE sequences. We have also examined the variation in the stability of the protein–DNA complex upon mutating ABRE sequences using the protein design algorithm FoldX. The high throughput free energy calculations successfully predicted the ability of ABF1 to bind to alternative core motifs like GCGT or AAGT and also rationalized the role of the flanking sequences in determining the specificity of the protein-DNA interaction.
▸ Abscisic acid response elements (ABREs) are bound by ABFs, a class of bZIP transcription factor. ▸ We examined the recognition of ABRE DNA sequences by ABF1 protein from A. thaliana. ▸ An initial model was constructed by comparative modeling and protein DNA docking. ▸ Relative binding affinities of the protein for mutated DNA sequences were calculated. ▸ The approach explains much of the experimental data at a low computational cost.
Abscisic acid response element; Basic leucine zipper; Protein–DNA interaction; Comparative modeling; FoldX; HADDOCK; Recognition specificity; ABA, abscisic acid; ABRE, abscisic acid response element; ABF1, ABRE binding factor 1; bZIP, basic leucine zipper; SSCRE, somatostatin cAMP response element; CREB, cAMP response element-binding protein.
Drought is one of the major abiotic stresses affecting plant growth, development and crop productivity. ABA responsive element binding factor (ABF) plays an important role in stress responses via regulating the expression of stress-responsive genes.
In this study, a gene coding for ABF (PtrABF) was isolated from Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf. PtrABF had a complete open reading frame of 1347 bp, encoding a 448 amino acid peptide, and shared high sequence identities with ABFs from other plants. PtrABF was subcellularly targeted to the nucleus, exhibited transactivation activity in yeast cell and could bind to ABRE, supporting its role as a transcription factor. Expression levels of PtrABF were induced by treatments with dehydration, low temperature and ABA. Ectopic expression of PtrABF under the control of a CaMV 35S promoter in transgenic tobacco plants enhanced tolerance to both dehydration and drought. Under dehydration and drought conditions, the transgenic plants accumulated lower levels of reactive oxygen species compared with wild type, accompanied by higher activities and expression levels of three antioxidant enzymes. In addition, steady-state mRNA levels of nine stress-responsive genes coding for either functional or regulatory proteins were induced to higher levels in the transgenic lines with or without drought stress.
PtrABF is a bZIP transcription factor and functions in positive modulation of drought stress tolerance. It may be an important candidate gene for molecular breeding of drought- tolerant plants.
The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) is a key regulator of seed development. In addition to promoting seed maturation, ABA inhibits seed germination and seedling growth. Many components involved in ABA response have been identified, including the transcription factors ABA insensitive (ABI)4 and ABI5. The genes encoding these factors are expressed predominantly in developing and mature seeds, and are positive regulators of ABA mediated inhibition of seed germination and growth. The direct effects of ABI4 and ABI5 in ABA response remain largely undefined. To address this question, plants over-expressing ABI4 or ABI5 were used to allow identification of direct transcriptional targets. Ectopically expressed ABI4 and ABI5 conferred ABA-dependent induction of slightly over 100 genes in 11 day old plants. In addition to effector genes involved in seed maturation and reserve storage, several signaling proteins and transcription factors were identified as targets of ABI4 and/or ABI5. Although only 12% of the ABA- and ABI-dependent transcriptional targets were induced by both ABI factors in 11 day old plants, 40% of those normally expressed in seeds had reduced transcript levels in both abi4 and abi5 mutants. Surprisingly, many of the ABI4 transcriptional targets do not contain the previously characterized ABI4 binding motifs, the CE1 or S box, in their promoters, but some of these interact with ABI4 in electrophoretic mobility shift assays, suggesting that sequence recognition by ABI4 may be more flexible than known canonical sequences. Yeast one-hybrid assays demonstrated synergistic action of ABI4 with ABI5 or related bZIP factors in regulating these promoters, and mutant analyses showed that ABI4 and these bZIPs share some functions in plants.
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ABA; Arabidopsis; ABI4; ABI5; Transcriptional targets
The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays a crucial role in plant development and responses to abiotic stresses. Recent studies indicate that a positive feedback regulation by ABA exists in ABA biosynthesis in plants under dehydration stress. To understand the molecular basis of this regulation, we analyzed the cis-elements of the AtNCED3 promoter in Arabidopsis. AtNCED3 encodes the first committed and highly regulated dioxygenase in the ABA biosynthetic pathway. Through delineated and mutagenesis analyses in stable-transformed Arabidopsis, we revealed that a distal ABA responsive element (ABRE: GGCACGTG, -2372 to -2364 bp) is required for ABA-induced AtNCED3 expression. By analyzing the AtNCED3 expression in ABRE binding protein ABF3 over-expression transgenic plants and knock-out mutants, we provide evidence that the ABA feedback regulation of AtNCED3 expression is not mediated by ABF3.
Abscisic acid (ABA) is a phytohormone that plays an important role in responses to environmental stresses as well as seed maturation and germination. Intracellular signaling by ABA has been rigorously investigated in relation to stomatal guard-cell regulation, seed germination and abiotic stress responses. However, intercellular regulation of ABA, including the molecular basis of ABA transport systems, has hardly been examined in any plant species. Based on genetic and biochemical analyses, we present evidence that one of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter genes, AtABCG25, encodes a protein that functions as an ABA exporter through the plasma membrane and is involved in the intercellular ABA signaling pathway. The ABC-type transporter is conserved in model species from E. coli to humans and is reported to transport various metabolites or signaling molecules in an ATP-dependent manner. At same time, another ABC transporter in Arabidopsis, AtABCG40, was independently reported to function as an ABA importer in plant cells. These findings strongly suggest the active control of ABA transport between plant cells, and they provide a novel impetus for examining ABA intercellular regulation.
Arabidopsis; ABA; transport; ABC transporter; ABCG; transposontagged lines
The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) play critical roles in mediating abiotic stress responses in plants. It is well known that ABA is involved in the modulation of ROS levels by regulating ROS-producing and ROS-scavenging genes, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this regulation are poorly understood. Here we show that the expression of maize ABP9 gene, which encodes a bZIP transcription factor capable of binding to the ABRE2 motif in the maize Cat1 promoter, is induced by ABA, H2O2, drought and salt. Constitutive expression of ABP9 in transgenic Arabidopsis leads to remarkably enhanced tolerance to multiple stresses including drought, high salt, freezing temperature and oxidative stresses. ABP9 expressing Arabidopsis plants also exhibit increased sensitivity to exogenously applied ABA during seed germination, root growth and stomatal closure and improved water-conserving capacity. Moreover, constitutive expression of ABP9 causes reduced cellular levels of ROS, alleviated oxidative damage and reduced cell death, accompanied by elevated expression of many stress/ABA responsive genes including those for scavenging and regulating ROS. Taken together, these results suggest that ABP9 may play a pivotal role in plant tolerance to abiotic stresses by fine tuning ABA signaling and control of ROS accumulation.
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Transcription factor ABP9; ABA; Reactive oxygen species; Stress tolerance; Gene expression
The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) regulates the expression of many genes in plants and plays critical roles in stress resistance, and growth and development1-7. Several proteins have been reported to function as ABA receptors8-13 and many more are known to be involved in ABA signaling3,4,14. However, the identities of ABA receptors remain controversial and the mechanism of signaling from perception to downstream gene expression is unclear15,16. Here we show that by combining the recently identified ABA receptor PYR1, with the protein phosphatase 2C ABI1, the serine/threonine protein kinase SnRK2.6/OST1, and the transcription factor ABF2/AREB1, we can reconstitute ABA-triggered phosphorylation of the transcription factor in vitro. Introduction of these four components into plant protoplasts results in ABA-responsive gene expression. The protoplast and test tube reconstitution assays were used to test the function of various members of the receptor, protein phosphatase, and kinase families. Our results suggest that the default state of the SnRK2 kinases is an autophosphorylated, active state and that the SnRK2 kinases are kept inactive by the PP2Cs through physical interaction and dephosphorylation. We found that in the presence of ABA, the PYR/PYL receptor proteins can disrupt the interaction between the SnRK2s and PP2Cs, thus preventing the PP2Cs-mediated dephosphorylation of the SnRK2s and resulting in the activation of the SnRK2 kinases. Our results reveal new insights into ABA signaling mechanisms and define a minimal set of core components of a complete major ABA signaling pathway.
The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) is an important regulator of plant development and response to environmental stresses. In this study, we identified two ABA overly sensitive mutant alleles in a gene encoding Auxin Response Factor2 (ARF2). The expression of ARF2 was induced by ABA treatment. The arf2 mutants showed enhanced ABA sensitivity in seed germination and primary root growth. In contrast, the primary root growth and seed germination of transgenic plants over-expressing ARF2 are less inhibited by ABA than that of the wild type. ARF2 negatively regulates the expression of a homeodomain gene HB33, the expression of which is reduced by ABA. Transgenic plants over-expressing HB33 are more sensitive, while transgenic plants reducing HB33 by RNAi are more resistant to ABA in the seed germination and primary root growth than the wild type. ABA treatment altered auxin distribution in the primary root tips and made the relative, but not absolute, auxin accumulation or auxin signal around quiescent centre cells and their surrounding columella stem cells to other cells stronger in arf2-101 than in the wild type. These results indicate that ARF2 and HB33 are novel regulators in the ABA signal pathway, which has crosstalk with auxin signal pathway in regulating plant growth.
Abscisic acid is a phytohormone that regulates many aspects in plant growth and development and response to different biotic and abiotic stresses. Research on ABA inhibiting seed germination, controlling stomatal movement, and regulating gene expression has been widely performed. However, the molecular mechanism for ABA regulating root growth is not well known. We have set up a genetic screen by using ABA inhibiting root growth to identify ABA related mutants and to dissect the molecular mechanism of ABA regulating root growth. In this study, we identified two new mutant alleles that are defective in ARF2 gene. ARF2 is a transcriptional suppressor that has been found to be involved in ethylene, auxin, and brassinosteroid pathway to control plant growth and development. Our study indicates that ARF2 is an ABA responsive regulator that functions in both seed germination and primary root growth. ARF2 directly regulates the expression of a homeodomain gene HB33. We demonstrate that ABA treatment reduces the cell division and alters auxin distribution more in arf2 mutant than in the wild type, suggesting an important mechanism in ABA inhibiting the primary root growth through mediating cell division in root tips.
Seed germination and flowering initiation are both transitions responding to similar seasonal cues. This study shows that ABSCISIC ACID-INSENSITIVE MUTANT 5 (ABI5), a bZIP transcription factor, which plays an important role in the abscisic acid (ABA)-arrested seed germination, is robustly associated with the floral transition in Arabidopsis. Under long-day conditions, overexpression of ABI5 could delay floral transition through upregulating FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) expression. In contrast, ectopically overexpressing FLC in an abi5 mutant reversed the earlier flowering phenotype. Further analysis indicated that transactivation of FLC could be promoted by ABI5 and/or other abscisic acid-responsive element (ABRE)-binding factors (ABFs). The expression of FLC that was promoted by ABI5 and/or other ABFs could be blocked in a triple SNF1-related protein kinase (SnRK) mutant, snrk2.2/2.3/2.6, despite the presence of ABA. In sharp contrast, when SnRK2.6 was coexpressed, the reduction of transactivity of FLC was reverted in mesophyll protoplasts of snrk2.2/2.3/2.6. Additional results from analysing transgenic plants carrying mutations of phosphoamino acids (ABI5
S42AS145AT201A), which are conserved in ABI5, suggested that SnRK2-mediated ABI5 and/or ABF phosphorylation may be crucial for promoting FLC expression. The transgenic plants ABI5
S42AS145AT201A were insensitive to ABA in seed germination, in addition to having an earlier flowering phenotype. Direct binding of ABI5 to the ABRE/G-box promoter elements existing in FLC was demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Mutations at the ABRE/G-box regions in FLC promoter sequences abolished the ABI5-promoted transactivation of FLC. In summary, these results may decipher the inhibitory effect of ABA on floral transition in Arabidopsis.
ABA; ABFs; ABI5; chromatin immunoprecipitation; FLC; flowering time; SnRK2s.
Previous study showed that the magnesium-protoporphyrin IX chelatase H subunit (CHLH/ABAR) positively regulates abscisic acid (ABA) signaling. Here, we investigated the functions of a CHLH/ABAR interaction protein, the chloroplast co-chaperonin 20 (CPN20) in ABA signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana. We showed that down-expression of the CPN20 gene increases, but overexpression of the CPN20 gene reduces, ABA sensitivity in the major ABA responses including ABA-induced seed germination inhibition, postgermination growth arrest, promotion of stomatal closure and inhibition of stomatal opening. Genetic evidence supports that CPN20 functions downstream or at the same node of CHLH/ABAR, but upstream of the WRKY40 transcription factor. The other CPN20 interaction partners CPN10 and CPN60 are not involved in ABA signaling. Our findings show that CPN20 functions negatively in the ABAR-WRKY40 coupled ABA signaling independently of its co-chaperonin role, and provide a new insight into the role of co-chaperones in the regulation of plant responses to environmental cues.
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Abscisic acid signaling; Arabidopsis thaliana; Cochaperonin CPN20; Mg-chelatase H subunit; WRKY40 transcription factor
Sugars regulate important processes and affect the expression of many genes in plants. Characterization of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) mutants with altered sugar sensitivity revealed the function of abscisic acid (ABA) signalling in sugar responses. However, the exact interaction between sugar signalling and ABA is obscure. Therefore ABA deficient plants with constitutive ABI4 expression (aba2-1/35S::ABI4) were generated. Enhanced ABI4 expression did not rescue the glucose insensitive (gin) phenotype of aba2 seedlings indicating that other ABA regulated factors are essential as well. Interestingly, both glucose and ABA treatment of Arabidopsis seeds trigger a post-germination seedling developmental arrest. The glucose-arrested seedlings had a drought tolerant phenotype and showed glucose-induced expression of ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE3 (ABI3), ABI5 and LATE EMBRYOGENESIS ABUNDANT (LEA) genes reminiscent of ABA signalling during early seedling development. ABI3 is a key regulator of the ABA-induced arrest and it is shown here that ABI3 functions in glucose signalling as well. Multiple abi3 alleles have a glucose insensitive (gin) phenotype comparable to that of other known gin mutants. Importantly, glucose-regulated gene expression is disturbed in the abi3 background. Moreover, abi3 was insensitive to sugars during germination and showed sugar insensitive (sis) and sucrose uncoupled (sun) phenotypes. Mutant analysis further identified the ABA response pathway genes ENHANCED RESPONSE TO ABA1 (ERA1) and ABI2 as intermediates in glucose signalling. Hence, three previously unidentified sugar signalling genes have been identified, showing that ABA and glucose signalling overlap to a larger extend than originally thought.
Abscisic acid; ABA insensitive; Glucose insensitive; Seedling development; Sugar signalling
Abscisic acid (ABA) is the most important hormone for plants to resist drought and other abiotic stresses. ABA binds directly to the PYR/PYL family of ABA receptors, resulting in inhibition of type 2C phosphatases (PP2C) and activation of downstream ABA signaling. It is envisioned that intervention of ABA signaling by small molecules could help plants to overcome abiotic stresses such as drought, cold and soil salinity. However, chemical instability and rapid catabolism by plant enzymes limit the practical application of ABA itself. Here we report the identification of a small molecule ABA mimic (AM1) that acts as a potent activator of multiple members of the family of ABA receptors. In Arabidopsis, AM1 activates a gene network that is highly similar to that induced by ABA. Treatments with AM1 inhibit seed germination, prevent leaf water loss, and promote drought resistance. We solved the crystal structure of AM1 in complex with the PYL2 ABA receptor and the HAB1 PP2C, which revealed that AM1 mediates a gate-latch-lock interacting network, a structural feature that is conserved in the ABA-bound receptor/PP2C complex. Together, these results demonstrate that a single small molecule ABA mimic can activate multiple ABA receptors and protect plants from water loss and drought stress. Moreover, the AM1 complex crystal structure provides a structural basis for designing the next generation of ABA-mimicking small molecules.
abscisic acid; plant hormone; drought resistance; crystal structure; ABA-mimicking ligand
Although the importance of abscisic acid (ABA) in plant development and response to abiotic and biotic stresses is well recognized, the molecular basis of the signaling pathway has not been fully elucidated. Mutants in genes related to ABA are widely used as a tool for gaining insight into the mechanisms of ABA signal transduction and ABA-dependent stress response. We used a genetic approach of a suppressor screening in order to decipher the interaction between ABH1 (CBP80) and other components of ABA signaling. ABH1 (CBP80) encodes a large subunit of CBC (CAP BINDING COMPLEX) and the abh1 mutant is drought-tolerant and hypersensitive to ABA during seed germination. The suppressor mutants of abh1 were generated after chemical mutagenesis. The mutant named soa1 (suppressor of abh1 hypersensitivity to ABA 1) displayed an ABA-insensitive phenotype during seed germination. The genetic analysis showed that the soa1 phenotype is dominant in relation to abh1 and segregates as a single locus. Based on soa1’s response to a wide spectrum of physiological assays during different stages of development, we used the candidate-genes approach in order to identify a suppressor gene. The molecular analysis revealed that mutation causing the phenotype of soa1 occurred in the ABI4 (ABA insensitive 4) gene. Analysis of pre-miR159 expression, whose processing depends on CBC, as well as targets of miR159: MYB33 and MYB101, which are positive regulators of ABA signaling, revealed a possible link between CBP80 (ABH1) and ABI4 presented here.
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Abiotic stresses; Abscisic acid (ABA); Arabidopsis; Seed germination; Suppressor mutant
The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) mediates seed dormancy, controls seedling development and triggers tolerance to abiotic stresses, including drought. Core ABA signaling components consist of a recently identified group of ABA receptor proteins of the PYRABACTIN RESISTANCE (PYR)/REGULATORY COMPONENT OF ABA RECEPTOR (RCAR) family that act as negative regulators of members of the PROTEIN PHOSPHATASE 2C (PP2C) family. Inhibition of PP2C activity enables activation of SNF1-RELATED KINASE 2 (SnRK2) protein kinases, which target downstream components, including transcription factors, ion channels and NADPH oxidases. These and other components form a complex ABA signaling network. Here, an in depth analysis of the evolution of components in this ABA signaling network shows that (i) PYR/RCAR ABA receptor and ABF-type transcription factor families arose during land colonization of plants and are not found in algae and other species, (ii) ABA biosynthesis enzymes have evolved to plant- and fungal-specific forms, leading to different ABA synthesis pathways, (iii) existing stress signaling components, including PP2C phosphatases and SnRK kinases, were adapted for novel roles in this plant-specific network to respond to water limitation. In addition, evolutionarily conserved secondary structures in the PYR/RCAR ABA receptor family are visualized.
The ABA Binding Factor/ABA-Responsive Element Binding Proteins (ABF/AREB) subfamily of bZIP-type transcription factors are positive effectors of ABA responses. Here, we examine the proteolytic regulation of two members: Arabidopsis thaliana ABF1 and ABF3. Both transcription factors are unstable in seedlings, and their degradation is sensitive to proteasome inhibition. ABA treatment of seedlings leads to their rapid accumulation, the result of slowed proteolysis. Deletion of the conserved C–terminal region required for 14–3–3 interaction destabilizes the proteins. The degradation of ABF1 and ABF3 are slower in vivo in seedlings lacking the ubiquitin E3 ligase KEEP ON GOING (KEG), and in vitro in extracts from keg seedlings, implicating KEG in their degradation. ABF1 and ABF3 are ubiquitylation substrates of KEG in vitro, and in vitro pull-down assays document their direct interaction. In contrast to ABI5, another KEG substrate, the degradation of ABFs and proteolytic regulation of ABFs by ABA still occurs in keg seedlings, suggesting that additional E3s participate in ABF1 and ABF3 proteolysis. Loss of ABF1 or ABF3 in the keg background has a phenotypic effect similar to the loss of ABI5, and there is no additional rescue of the keg phenotype in abf1 abf3 abi5 keg seedlings. This result suggests that the abundance of other substrates is altered in keg seedlings, affecting growth. In conclusion, ABF1 and ABF3 abundance is affected by ABA and KEG, and the conserved C4 region serves as a stabilizing element.
Arabidopsis thaliana; ABF; abscisic acid; ubiquitin E3 ligase; ubiquitin; proteolysis; KEG
The plant-specific transcription factor ABSCISIC ACID IN SENSITIVE3 (ABI3) or the maize ortholog VIVIPAROUS1 (VP1) is known to regulate seed maturation and germination in concert with the phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) but is also evolutionarily conserved among land plants including non-seed plants. An ABI3/VP1 ortholog (PpABI3A) from the moss Physcomitrella patens can activate ABA-responsive gene promoters in the moss and angiosperms; however, it failed to fully complement the phenotypes of the Arabidopsis abi3-6 mutant, suggesting that some aspects of ABI3/VP1 functions have diverged during the evolution of land plants. To gain insights into the evolution of ABI3/VP1 function, we performed a comparative analysis of the regulatory elements required for ABI3 activation in Physcomitrella using a wheat Em gene promoter, which is induced by ABA and ABI3/VP1 both in Physcomitrella and in angiosperms. Elimination of either the ACGT core motif in the ABA response element (ABRE) or the RY element, to which ABI3/VP1 binds directly, resulted in a drastic reduction of the ABA response in Physcomitrella. Arabidopsis ABI3 could effectively activate the Em promoter either in an ABRE- or RY-dependent manner, as observed in angiosperms. On the other hand, PpABI3A failed to activate an Em promoter lacking the RY element but not the ABRE. These results suggest that RY-mediated transcriptional regulation of ABI3/VP1 is evolutionarily conserved between the moss and angiosperms, whereas angiosperm ABI3/VP1 has evolved to activate ABA-inducible promoters via the ABRE sequence independently from the RY element.
ABA; ABI3; ABA response element; Physcomoitrella patens; RY element
The biological functions of WRKY transcription factors in plants have been widely studied, but their roles in abiotic stress are still not well understood. We isolated an ABA overly sensitive mutant, abo3, which is disrupted by a T-DNA insertion in At1g66600 encoding a WRKY transcription factor AtWRKY63. The mutant was hypersensitive to ABA in both seedling establishment and seedling growth. However, stomatal closure was less sensitive to ABA, and the abo3 mutant was less drought tolerant than the wild type. Northern blot analysis indicated that the expression of the ABA-responsive transcription factor ABF2/AREB1 was markedly lower in the abo3 mutant than in the wild type. The abo3 mutation also reduced the expression of stress-inducible genes RD29A and COR47, especially early during ABA treatment. ABO3 is able to bind the W-box in the promoter of ABF2 in vitro. These results uncover an important role for a WRKY transcription factor in plant responses to ABA and drought stress.
WRKY transcription factor; abscisic acid; Arabidopsis; drought stress
Abiotic stress causes loss of crop production. Under abiotic stress conditions, expression of many genes is induced, and their products have important roles in stress responses and tolerance. Progress has been made in understanding the biological roles of regulons in abiotic stress responses in rice. A number of transcription factors (TFs) regulate stress-responsive gene expression. OsDREB1s and OsDREB2s were identified as abiotic-stress responsive TFs that belong to the AP2/ERF family. Similar to Arabidopsis, these DREB regulons were most likely not involved in the abscisic acid (ABA) pathway. OsAREBs such as OsAREB1 were identified as key components in ABA-dependent transcriptional networks in rice. OsNAC/SNACs including OsNAC6 were characterized as factors that regulate expression of genes important for abiotic stress responses in rice. Here, we review on the rice abiotic-stress responses mediated by transcriptional networks, with the main focus on TFs that function in abiotic stress responses and confer stress tolerance in rice.
AhAREB1 (Arachis hypogaea Abscisic-acid Response Element Binding Protein 1) is a member of the basic domain leucine zipper (bZIP)-type transcription factor in peanut. Previously, we found that expression of AhAREB1 was specifically induced by abscisic acid (ABA), dehydration and drought. To understand the drought defense mechanism regulated by AhAREB1, transgenic Arabidopsis overexpressing AhAREB1 was conducted in wild-type (WT), and a complementation experiment was employed to ABA non-sensitivity mutant abi5 (abscisic acid-insensitive 5). Constitutive expression of AhAREB1 confers water stress tolerance and is highly sensitive to exogenous ABA. Microarray and further real-time PCR analysis revealed that drought stress, reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging, ABA synthesis/metabolism-related genes and others were regulated in transgenic Arabidopsis overexpressing AhAREB1. Accordingly, low level of ROS, but higher ABA content was detected in the transgenic Arabidopsis plants’ overexpression of AhAREB1. Taken together, it was concluded that AhAREB1 modulates ROS accumulation and endogenous ABA level to improve drought tolerance in transgenic Arabidopsis.
AhAREB1; transcription factor; drought stress; Arachis hypogaea
Abscisic acid (ABA) is one of the “classical” plant hormones, i.e. discovered at least 50 years ago, that regulates many aspects of plant growth and development. This chapter reviews our current understanding of ABA synthesis, metabolism, transport, and signal transduction, emphasizing knowledge gained from studies of Arabidopsis. A combination of genetic, molecular and biochemical studies has identified nearly all of the enzymes involved in ABA metabolism, almost 200 loci regulating ABA response, and thousands of genes regulated by ABA in various contexts. Some of these regulators are implicated in cross-talk with other developmental, environmental or hormonal signals. Specific details of the ABA signaling mechanisms vary among tissues or developmental stages; these are discussed in the context of ABA effects on seed maturation, germination, seedling growth, vegetative stress responses, stomatal regulation, pathogen response, flowering, and senescence.
The light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b-binding (LHCB) proteins are the apoproteins of the light-harvesting complex of photosystem II. In the present study, we observed that downregulation of any of the six LHCB genes resulted in abscisic acid (ABA)-insensitive phenotypes in seed germination and post-germination growth, demonstrating that LHCB proteins are positively involved in these developmental processes in response to ABA. ABA was required for full expression of different LHCB members and physiologically high levels of ABA enhanced LHCB expression. The LHCB members were shown to be targets of an ABA-responsive WRKY-domain transcription factor, WRKY40, which represses LHCB expression to balance the positive function of the LHCBs in ABA signalling. These findings revealed that ABA is an inducer that fine-tunes LHCB expression at least partly through repressing the WRKY40 transcription repressor in stressful conditions in co-operation with light, which allows plants to adapt to environmental challenges.
Abscisic acid signalling; Arabidopsis thaliana; light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b-binding protein; post-germination growth; seed germination; WRKY40 transcription factor.
Abscisic acid (ABA) regulates diverse plant processes, growth and development under non-stress conditions and plays a pivotal role in abiotic stress tolerance. Although ABA-regulated genetic processes are well known, recent discoveries reveal that epigenetic processes are an integral part of ABA-regulated processes. Epigenetic mechanisms, namely, histone modifications and cytosine DNA methylation-induced modification of genome give rise to epigenomes, which add diversity and complexity to the genome of organisms. Histone monoubiquitination appears to regulate ABA levels in developing seeds through histone H2B monoubiquitination. ABA and H2B ubiquitination dependent chromatin remodeling regulate seed dormancy. Transcription factor networks necessary for seed maturation are repressed by histone deacetylases (HDACs)-dependent and PICKLE chromatin remodeling complexes (CRCs), whereas ABA induces the expression of these genes directly or through repression of HDACs. Abiotic stress-induced ABA regulates stomatal response and stress-responsive gene expression through HDACs and HOS15-dependent histone deacetylation, as well as through the ATP-dependent SWITCH/SUCROSE NONFERMENTING CRC. ABA also probably regulates the abiotic stress response through DNA methylation and short interfering RNA pathways. Further studies on ABA-regulated epigenome will be of immense use to understand the plant development, stress adaptation and stress memory.
abiotic stress memory; abscisic acid; chromatin remodeling; DNA methylation; histone deacetylases
Abiotic stress is severe environmental stress, which impairs crop production on irrigated land worldwide. Overall, the susceptibility or tolerance to the stress in plants is a coordinated action of multiple stress responsive genes, which also cross-talk with other components of stress signal transduction pathways. Plant responses to abiotic stress can be determined by the severity of the stress and by the metabolic status of the plant. Abscisic acid (ABA) is a phytohormone critical for plant growth and development and plays an important role in integrating various stress signals and controlling downstream stress responses. Plants have to adjust ABA levels constantly in responce to changing physiological and environmental conditions. To date, the mechanisms for fine-tuning of ABA levels remain elusive. The mechanisms by which plants respond to stress include both ABA-dependent and ABA-independent processes. Various transcription factors such as DREB2A/2B, AREB1, RD22BP1 and MYC/MYB are known to regulate the ABA-responsive gene expression through interacting with their corrosponding cis-acting elements such as DRE/CRT, ABRE and MYCRS/MYBRS, respectively. Understanding these mechanisms is important to improve stress tolerance in crops plants. This article first describes the general pathway for plant stress response followed by roles of ABA and transcription factors in stress tolerance including the regulation of ABA biosynthesis.
ABA; ABA-responsive element; ABA-responsive genes; cis-acting elements; environmental stress; plant stress hormone; signal transduction; transcription factors
Abscisic acid (ABA) controls plant development and regulates plant responses to environmental stresses. A role for ABA in sugar regulation of plant development has also been well documented although the molecular mechanisms connecting the hormone with sugar signal transduction pathways are not well understood. In this work it is shown that Arabidopsis thaliana mutants deficient in plastidial glycolytic glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gapcp1gapcp2) are ABA insensitive in growth, stomatal closure, and germination assays. The ABA levels of gapcp1gapcp2 were normal, suggesting that the ABA signal transduction pathway is impaired in the mutants. ABA modified gapcp1gapcp2 gene expression, but the mutant response to the hormone differed from that observed in wild-type plants. The gene expression of the transcription factor ABI4, involved in both sugar and ABA signalling, was altered in gapcp1gapcp2, suggesting that their ABA insensitivity is mediated, at least partially, through this transcriptional regulator. Serine supplementation was able partly to restore the ABA sensitivity of gapcp1gapcp2, indicating that amino acid homeostasis and/or serine metabolism may also be important determinants in the connections of ABA with primary metabolism. Overall, these studies provide new insights into the links between plant primary metabolism and ABA signalling, and demonstrate the importance of plastidial glycolytic glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase in these interactions.
ABA; ABA signal transduction; Arabidopsis; GAPCp; glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; glycolysis; sugar signalling
Abscisic acid (ABA) is a phytohormone that plays important roles in the regulation of seed dormancy and adaptation to abiotic stresses. Previous work identified OsPYL/RCARs as functional ABA receptors regulating ABA-dependent gene expression in Oryza sativa. OsPYL/RCARs thus are considered to be good candidate genes for improvement of abiotic stress tolerance in crops. This work demonstrates that the cytosolic ABA receptor OsPYL/RCAR5 in O. sativa functions as a positive regulator of abiotic stress-responsive gene expression. The constitutive expression of OsPYL/RCAR5 in rice driven by the Zea mays ubiquitin promoter induced the expression of many stress-responsive genes even under normal growth conditions and resulted in improved drought and salt stress tolerance in rice. However, it slightly reduced plant height under paddy field conditions and severely reduced total seed yield. This suggests that, although exogenous expression of OsPYL/RCAR5 is able to improve abiotic stress tolerance in rice, fine regulation of its expression will be required to avoid deleterious effects on agricultural traits.
ABA receptors; drought stress; rice; salt stress.