Arabidopsis RAV1 transcription factor, phosphorylated by SnRK2 kinases, regulates the expression of ABI3, ABI4, and ABI5 during seed germination and early seedling development

Cui-Zhu Feng, Yun Chen, Cun Wang, You-Han Kong, Wei-Hua Wu, Yi-Fang Chen
Plant Journal 2014, 80 (4): 654-68
The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) modulates a number of processes during plant growth and development. In this study, the molecular mechanism of Arabidopsis RAV (Related to ABI3/VP1) transcription factor RAV1 involving ABA signaling was investigated. RAV1-underexpressing lines were more sensitive to ABA than wild-type plants during seed germination and early seedling development, whereas RAV1-overexpressing lines showed strong ABA-insensitive phenotypes. Overexpression of RAV1 repressed ABI3, ABI4, and ABI5 expression, and RAV1 bound to the ABI3, ABI4, and ABI5 promoters in vitro and in vivo, indicating that RAV1 directly down-regulates the expression of ABI3, ABI4, and ABI5. The interruption of ABI5 function in RAV1-U abi5 plants abolished the ABA-hypersensitive phenotype of RAV1-U plants, demonstrating that ABI5 is epistatic to RAV1. RAV1 interacted with SNF1-RELATED PROTEIN KINASE SnRK2.2, SnRK2.3 and SnRK2.6 in the nucleus. In vitro kinase assays showed that SnRK2.2, SnRK2.3 and SnRK2.6 phosphorylated RAV1. Transient expression assays revealed that SnRK2.2, SnRK2.3 and SnRK2.6 reduced the RAV1-dependent repression of ABI5, and the ABA-insensitive phenotype of the RAV1-overexpressing line was impaired by overexpression of SnRK2.3 in the RAV1 OE3 plants. Together, these results demonstrated that the Arabidopsis RAV1 transcription factor plays an important role in ABA signaling by modulating the expression of ABI3, ABI4, and ABI5, and that its activity is negatively affected by SnRK2s.

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