Evolutionarily conserved regulatory mechanisms of abscisic acid signaling in land plants: characterization of ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE1-like type 2C protein phosphatase in the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha

Ken Tougane, Kenji Komatsu, Salma Begum Bhyan, Yoichi Sakata, Kimitsune Ishizaki, Katsuyuki T Yamato, Takayuki Kohchi, Daisuke Takezawa
Plant Physiology 2010, 152 (3): 1529-43
Abscisic acid (ABA) is postulated to be a ubiquitous hormone that plays a central role in seed development and responses to environmental stresses of vascular plants. However, in liverworts (Marchantiophyta), which represent the oldest extant lineage of land plants, the role of ABA has been least emphasized; thus, very little information is available on the molecular mechanisms underlying ABA responses. In this study, we isolated and characterized MpABI1, an ortholog of ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE1 (ABI1), from the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha. The MpABI1 cDNA encoded a 568-amino acid protein consisting of the carboxy-terminal protein phosphatase 2C (PP2C) domain and a novel amino-terminal regulatory domain. The MpABI1 transcript was detected in the gametophyte, and its expression level was increased by exogenous ABA treatment in the gemma, whose growth was strongly inhibited by ABA. Experiments using green fluorescent protein fusion constructs indicated that MpABI1 was mainly localized in the nucleus and that its nuclear localization was directed by the amino-terminal domain. Transient overexpression of MpABI1 in M. polymorpha and Physcomitrella patens cells resulted in suppression of ABA-induced expression of the wheat Em promoter fused to the beta -glucuronidase gene. Transgenic P. patens expressing MpABI1 and its mutant construct, MpABI1-d2, lacking the amino-terminal domain, had reduced freezing and osmotic stress tolerance, and associated with reduced accumulation of ABA-induced late embryogenesis abundant-like boiling-soluble proteins. Furthermore, ABA-induced morphological changes leading to brood cells were not prominent in these transgenic plants. These results suggest that MpABI1 is a negative regulator of ABA signaling, providing unequivocal molecular evidence of PP2C-mediated ABA response mechanisms functioning in liverworts.

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