Abscisic acid response element binding factor 1 is required for establishment of Arabidopsis seedlings during winter

Pitamber Dutt Sharma, Neha Singh, Paramvir Singh Ahuja, Thamalampudi Venkata Reddy
Molecular Biology Reports 2011, 38 (8): 5147-59
Abscisic acid (ABA) plays a crucial role in abiotic stress response apart from its influence on growth and development of a plant. Our studies on abscisic acid response element binding factor 1 (ABF1) gene in Arabidopsis demonstrate that it is required for seedling establishment during winter. ABF1 is also involved in regulating seed dormancy and seed germination to some extent. Analysis of transcriptional activity of ABF1 promoter reveals that ABF1 expresses specifically in trichomes of young leaves and constitutively in cotyledons, roots, older leaves and flowers. The expression is induced upon exposure to ABA, cold and heat. The alignment of cDNAs of ABF1 (At1g49720) and At1g49730 (encodes a protein kinase of unknown function), reveals an overlap of 88 bp at their 3' UTR region suggesting that they can potentially form natural cis-antisense mRNAs pair in a tail-to-tail manner. Analysis by Genevestigator microarray stress response viewer further supports the regulatory role of these genes. An inverse proportion is observed in the transcription the two loci in number of stress responses. The abf1 mutants do not show any seedling establishment defects when grown under standard growth conditions. The mutant seedlings exhibit growth defects during winter in the western Himalayan region. Our study also signifies the importance of functional analysis for mutant phenotypes in natural habitats by reverse genetic approaches, in order to identify specific function of particular gene/s whose expression level is altered upon exposure to changes in environmental cues such as temperature and light.

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