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Plant Cell. 2002 Dec;14(12):3177-89.

Abscisic acid-induced transcription is mediated by phosphorylation of an abscisic acid response element binding factor, TRAB1.

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  • 1Center for Molecular Biology and Genetics, Mie University, 1515 Kamihama-cho, Tsu 514-8507, Japan.


The rice basic domain/Leu zipper factor TRAB1 binds to abscisic acid (ABA) response elements and mediates ABA signals to activate transcription. We show that TRAB1 is phosphorylated rapidly in an in vivo labeling experiment and by phosphatase-sensitive mobility shifts on SDS-polyacrylamide gels. We had shown previously that a chimeric promoter containing GAL4 binding sites became ABA inducible when a GAL4 binding domain-TRAB1 fusion protein was present. This expression system allowed us to assay the ABA response function of TRAB1. Using this system, we show that Ser-102 of TRAB1 is critical for this function. Because no ABA-induced mobility shift was observed when Ser-102 was replaced by Ala, we suggest that this Ser residue is phosphorylated in response to ABA. Cell fractionation experiments, as well as fluorescence microscopy observations of transiently expressed green fluorescent protein-TRAB1 fusion protein, indicated that TRAB1 was localized in the nucleus independently of ABA. Our results suggest that the terminal or nearly terminal event of the primary ABA signal transduction pathway is the phosphorylation in the nucleus of preexisting TRAB1.

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