Involvement of genes encoding ABI1 protein phosphatases in the response of Brassica napus L. to drought stress

Danuta Babula-Skowrońska, Agnieszka Ludwików, Agata Cieśla, Anna Olejnik, Teresa Cegielska-Taras, Iwona Bartkowiak-Broda, Jan Sadowski
Plant Molecular Biology 2015, 88 (4-5): 445-57
In this report we characterized the Arabidopsis ABI1 gene orthologue and Brassica napus gene paralogues encoding protein phosphatase 2C (PP2C, group A), which is known to be a negative regulator of the ABA signaling pathway. Six homologous B. napus sequences were identified and characterized as putative PP2C group A members. To gain insight into the conservation of ABI1 function in Brassicaceae, and understand better its regulatory effects in the drought stress response, we generated transgenic B. napus plants overexpressing A. thaliana ABI1. Transgenic plants subjected to drought showed a decrease in relative water content, photosynthetic pigments content and expression level of RAB18- and RD19A-drought-responsive marker genes relative to WT plants. We present the characterization of the drought response of B. napus with the participation of ABI1-like paralogues. The expression pattern of two evolutionarily distant paralogues, BnaA01.ABI1.a and BnaC07.ABI1.b in B. napus and their promoter activity in A. thaliana showed differences in the induction of the paralogues under dehydration stress. Comparative sequence analysis of both BnaABI1 promoters showed variation in positions of cis-acting elements that are especially important for ABA- and stress-inducible expression. Together, these data reveal that subfunctionalization following gene duplication may be important in the maintenance and functional divergence of the BnaABI1 paralogues. Our results provide a framework for a better understanding of (1) the role of ABI1 as a hub protein regulator of the drought response, and (2) the differential involvement of the duplicated BnaABI1 genes in the response of B. napus to dehydration-related stresses.

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