The tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor (TRAF)-like family protein SEVEN IN ABSENTIA 2 (SINA2) promotes drought tolerance in an ABA-dependent manner in Arabidopsis

Yan Bao, Cuiting Wang, Chunmei Jiang, Jing Pan, Guobin Zhang, Hua Liu, Hongxia Zhang
New Phytologist 2014, 202 (1): 174-87
Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor (TRAF) proteins play crucial roles in plant development and response to abiotic stress. Here, we present genetic evidence that SEVEN IN ABSENTIA 2 (SINA2), a TRAF-like family protein, is involved in abscisic acid (ABA)-related drought stress signaling in Arabidopsis. Gene expression, protein subcellular localization, protein-protein interaction, and a transient transcription dual-luciferase assay were performed. The drought tolerance of SINA2 loss-of-function mutants and SINA2-overexpressing plants was investigated. In Arabidopsis, SINA2 was significantly induced by ABA and drought treatment. The SINA2-YFP fusion protein was predominately localized in the nuclei and cytoplasm. Loss of function of SINA2 (sina2) reduced drought tolerance, whereas overexpression of SINA2 increased stomatal closure, decreased water loss, and therefore improved drought resistance in transgenic plants. Upon ABA treatment, expression of some key ABA- and stress-responsive genes decreased in the sina2 mutant, but increased in SINA2-overexpressing plants. Furthermore, SINA2 was induced in the ABA-deficient mutant by ABA, but not by drought stress. Thus, the drought response of SINA2 was ABA-dependent. ProSINA2::LUC expression in Arabidopsis protoplasts further revealed that ABA-responsive element (ABRE) binding (AREB) protein 1 (AREB1) AREB2 and ABRE-binding factor 3 (ABF3) might regulate SINA2 expression at the transcriptional level. Our results indicate that SINA2 functions as a positive molecular link between drought tolerance and ABA signaling in Arabidopsis.

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