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FEBS Lett. 2006 Oct 2;580(22):5251-6. Epub 2006 Sep 5.

Functional analysis of a calcium-binding transcription factor involved in plant salt stress signaling.

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Kiyong Biotechnology, 418-29 Goejong-Dong, Saha-Gu, Busan 604-083, South Korea.


Calcium is known to serve as a secondary messenger to mediate salt stress signaling pathway. We found a calcium-binding basic/helix-loop-helix-type transcription factor (AtNIG1) as a salt stress-responsive gene by using the suppression subtractive hybridization. The AtNIG1 was targeted into nucleus and bound to (45)Ca(2+), suggesting that AtNIG1 is a nuclear calcium-binding protein. In addition, AtNIG1 bound specifically to the E-box-DNA sequence (CANNTG), which is found in the promoter regions of many salt stress-related genes. Functional analyses with an atnig1-1 knockout mutant revealed that the mutant plants show enhanced sensitivity to salt stress. Further analyses indicated that the atnig1-1 plants have reduced survival rate, fresh weight, chlorophyll content, and protein content upon salt stress, suggesting that the AtNIG1 plays a critical role in plant salt stress signaling. Therefore, this study represents that AtNIG1 is the first known calcium-binding transcription factor involved in plant salt stress signaling.

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