Identification of growth insensitive to ABA3 (gia3), a recessive mutation affecting ABA Signaling for the control of early post-germination growth in Arabidopsis thaliana

Natsuko Kinoshita, Alexandre Berr, Christophe Belin, Richard Chappuis, Naoko K Nishizawa, Luis Lopez-Molina
Plant & Cell Physiology 2010, 51 (2): 239-51
The stress phytohormone ABA inhibits the developmental transition taking the mature embryo in the dry seed towards a young seedling. ABA also induces the accumulation of the basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factor ABA-insensitive 5 (ABI5) which, apart from blocking endosperm rupture, also protects the embryo by stimulating the expression of late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) genes that conferred osmotolerance during seed maturation. It is unknown whether ABA recruits additional embryonic pathways to control early seedling growth and fitness. Here we identify gia3 (growth insensitive to ABA3), a recessive locus in Arabidopsis mediating cotyledon cellular maturation and ABA-dependent repression of cotyledon expansion and greening. Microarray studies showed that expression of the essential mid-embryogenesis gene Maternal Embryo Effect 26 (MEE26) is induced by ABA during early seedling growth in wild-type (WT) or abi5 plants but not in gia3 mutants. However, we also show that the GIA3 locus controls ABA-dependent gene expression responses that partially overlap with those controlled by ABI5. Thus, the gia3 locus identifies an additional arm of ABA signaling, distinct from that controlled by ABI5, which recruits MEE26 expression and maintains cotyledon embryonic identity. Fine mapping localized the gia3 locus within a 1 Mb interval of chromosome 3, containing a large DNA insertion of a duplicated region of chromosome 2. It remains unknown at present whether gia3 phenotypes are the result of single or multiple genetic alterations.

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