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Plant J. 2001 May;26(4):461-70.

Antisense inhibition of protein phosphatase 2C accelerates cold acclimation in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Department of Biosciences, Division of Genetics, PO Box 56, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.


Two related protein phosphatases 2C, ABI1 and AtPP2CA have been implicated as negative regulators of ABA signalling. In this study we characterized the role of AtPP2CA in cold acclimation. The pattern of expression of AtPP2CA and ABI1 was studied in different tissues and in response to abiotic stresses. The expression of both AtPP2CA and ABI1 was induced by low temperature, drought, high salt and ABA. The cold and drought-induced expression of these genes was ABA-dependent, but divergent in various ABA signalling mutants. In addition, the two PP2C genes exhibited differences in their tissue-specific expression as well as in temporal induction in response to low temperature. To elucidate the function of AtPP2CA in cold acclimation further, the corresponding gene was silenced by antisense inhibition. Transgenic antisense plants exhibited clearly accelerated development of freezing tolerance. Both exposure to low temperature and application of ABA resulted in enhanced freezing tolerance in antisense plants. These plants displayed increased sensitivity to ABA both during development of frost tolerance and during seed germination, but not in their drought responses. Furthermore, the expression of cold-and ABA-induced genes was enhanced in transgenic antisense plants. Our results suggest that AtPP2CA is a negative regulator of ABA responses during cold acclimation.

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