Arabidopsis C3HC4-RING finger E3 ubiquitin ligase AtAIRP4 positively regulates stress-responsive abscisic acid signaling

Liang Yang, Qiaohong Liu, Zhibin Liu, Hao Yang, Jianmei Wang, Xufeng Li, Yi Yang
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2016, 58 (1): 67-80
Degradation of proteins via the ubiquitin system is an important step in many stress signaling pathways in plants. E3 ligases recognize ligand proteins and dictate the high specificity of protein degradation, and thus, play a pivotal role in ubiquitination. Here, we identified a gene, named Arabidopsis thaliana abscisic acid (ABA)-insensitive RING protein 4 (AtAIRP4), which is induced by ABA and other stress treatments. AtAIRP4 encodes a cellular protein with a C3HC4-RING finger domain in its C-terminal side, which has in vitro E3 ligase activity. Loss of AtAIRP4 leads to a decrease in sensitivity of root elongation and stomatal closure to ABA, whereas overexpression of this gene in the T-DNA insertion mutant atairp4 effectively recovered the ABA-associated phenotypes. AtAIRP4 overexpression plants were hypersensitive to salt and osmotic stresses during seed germination, and showed drought avoidance compared with the wild-type and atairp4 mutant plants. In addition, the expression levels of ABA- and drought-induced marker genes in AtAIRP4 overexpression plants were markedly higher than those in the wild-type and atairp4 mutant plants. Hence, these results indicate that AtAIRP4 may act as a positive regulator of ABA-mediated drought avoidance and a negative regulator of salt tolerance in Arabidopsis.

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