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Plant Physiol. 1989 Jul;90(3):1096-101.

Molecular Cloning of Osmotin and Regulation of Its Expression by ABA and Adaptation to Low Water Potential.

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  • 1Department of Horticulture, Center for Plant Environmental Stress Physiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907.


In response to adaptation to NaCl, cultured tobacco cells (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv Wisconsin 38) synthesize a major 26 kilodalton protein which has been named osmotin due to its induction by low water potentials. To help characterize the expression of osmotin in adapted cells, a cDNA clone for osmotin has been isolated. Abscisic acid induces messenger RNA encoding osmotin. Levels of this mRNA in adapted cells are approximately 15-fold higher than in unadapted cells. Message for osmotin is present at constant levels through the growth cycle of adapted cells, while in unadapted cells, the level decreases during exponential phase of growth and increases again when the cells approach stationary phase. While abscisic acid induces the message for osmotin, a low water potential environment appears to be required for accumulation of the protein. An osmotic shock to unadapted cells does not increase the amount of message or protein present most likely because this treatment does not induce immediately the accumulation of abscisic acid. The increased expression of osmotin in adapted cells is not correlated with an increase in osmotin gene copy number. Osmotin is homologous to a 24 kilodalton NaCl-induced protein in tomato, as well as thaumatin, maize alpha-amylase/trypsin inhibitor and a tobacco mosaic virus-induced pathogenesis-related protein.

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