Isolation and characterization of novel mutant loci suppressing the ABA hypersensitivity of the Arabidopsis coronatine insensitive 1-16 (coi1-16) mutant during germination and seedling growth

Alejandro Fernández-Arbaizar, José J Regalado, Oscar Lorenzo
Plant & Cell Physiology 2012, 53 (1): 53-63
The phytohormone ABA regulates seed germination and stress responses. The identification of clade A protein phosphatase type 2C (PP2C)-interacting proteins PYRABACTIN RESISTANCE 1 (PYR1)/RCAR (REGULATORY COMPONENT OF ABA RECEPTOR) and PYR1-LIKEs (PYLs) as ABA receptors has been a major advance in understanding this process. Here, our aim was to identify additional ABA response loci by suppressor screening of the jasmonate (JA)-insensitive coronatine insensitive 1-16 (coi1-16) mutant using its ABA-hypersensitive phenotype. The identification and genetic characterization of Coi1-16 Resistant to ABA (CRA) loci revealed several unknown and three previously known abi mutants (abi1, abi3 and abi4), thus providing proof-of-concept evidence for this study. The synergistic effect of ABA and JA on seed germination and cotyledon expansion was analyzed in depth and the roles of cra5 coi1-16, cra6 coi1-16, cra7 coi1-16 and cra8 coi1-16 in ABA signaling during seed germination and stress responses were functionally characterized. The cra5 coi1-16 mutant showed resistance to ABA, paclobutrazol, and abiotic stresses during germination and early developmental stages. Furthermore, the cra5 coi1-16 mutation was mapped to the short arm of chromosome V and mutants exhibited differential expression of ABA-responsive genes, suggesting that CRA5 may function as a positive regulator of ABA signaling. Interestingly, cra6 coi1-16, cra7 coi1-16 and cra8 coi1-16 mutants display similar ABA- and abiotic stress-insensitive phenotypes during seed germination and seedling establishment. Taken together, our results demonstrate a key role for CRA genes in regulating the onset of seed germination by ABA, and highlight how cra mutants can be used as powerful tools to analyze novel molecular components of ABA signaling in seeds.

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