A novel abi5 allele reveals the importance of the conserved Ala in the C3 domain for regulation of downstream genes and salt tolerance during germination in Arabidopsis

Kenji Tezuka, Teruaki Taji, Takahisa Hayashi, Yoichi Sakata
Plant Signaling & Behavior 2013, 8 (3): e23455
Abscisic acid (ABA) signal transduction during Arabidopsis seed development and germination requires a Group A bZIP transcription factor encoded by ABA INSENSITIVE5 (ABI5). In addition to the basic leucine zipper DNA binding domain, Group A bZIPs are characterized by three N-terminal conserved regions (C1, C2 and C3) and one C-terminal conserved region (C4). These conserved regions are considered to play roles in ABI5 functions; however, except for the phosphorylation site, the importance of the highly conserved amino acids is unclear. Here, we report a novel abi5 recessive allele (abi5-9) that encodes an intact ABI5 protein with one amino acid substitution (A214G) in the C3 domain. The abi5-9 plants showed ABA insensitivity during germination and could germinate on medium containing 175 mM NaCl or 500 mM mannitol. Em1 and Em6--both encoding late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins and directly targeted by ABI5 regulation--were expressed at very low levels in abi5-9 plants compared with the wild type. In yeast, the abi5-9 protein exhibited greatly reduced interaction with ABI3 compared with ABI5. These data suggest that Ala214 in ABI5 contributes to the function of ABI5 via its interaction with ABI3.

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