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Plant Physiol. 2006 Jan;140(1):127-39. Epub 2005 Dec 16.

The protein phosphatase AtPP2CA negatively regulates abscisic acid signal transduction in Arabidopsis, and effects of abh1 on AtPP2CA mRNA.

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  • 1Division of Biological Sciences, Cell and Developmental Biology Section, and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, La Jolla, California 92093-0116, USA.


To identify new loci in abscisic acid (ABA) signaling, we screened a library of 35ScDNA Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana)-expressing lines for ABA-insensitive mutants in seed germination assays. One of the identified mutants germinated on 2.5 microm ABA, a concentration that completely inhibits wild-type seed germination. Backcrosses and F2 analyses indicated that the mutant exhibits a dominant phenotype and that the ABA insensitivity was linked to a single T-DNA insertion containing a 35ScDNA fusion. The inserted cDNA corresponds to a full-length cDNA of the AtPP2CA gene, encoding a protein phosphatase type 2C (PP2C). Northern-blot analyses demonstrated that the AtPP2CA transcript is indeed overexpressed in the mutant (named PP2CAox). Two independent homozygous T-DNA insertion lines, pp2ca-1 and pp2ca-2, were recovered from the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center and shown to lack full-length AtPP2CA expression. A detailed characterization of PP2CAox and the T-DNA disruption mutants demonstrated that, whereas ectopic expression of a 35SAtPP2CA fusion caused ABA insensitivity in seed germination and ABA-induced stomatal closure responses, disruption mutants displayed the opposite phenotype, namely, strong ABA hypersensitivity. Thus our data demonstrate that the PP2CA protein phosphatase is a strong negative regulator of ABA signal transduction. Furthermore, it has been previously shown that the AtPP2CA transcript is down-regulated in the ABA-hypersensitive nuclear mRNA cap-binding protein mutant abh1. We show here that down-regulation of AtPP2CA in abh1 is not due to impaired RNA splicing of AtPP2CA pre-mRNA. Moreover, expression of a 35SAtPP2CA cDNA fusion in abh1 partially suppresses abh1 hypersensitivity, and the data further suggest that additional mechanisms contribute to ABA hypersensitivity of abh1.

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