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EMBO Rep. 2007 Sep;8(9):864-70. Epub 2007 Aug 3.

The Arabidopsis TOR kinase links plant growth, yield, stress resistance and mRNA translation.

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Unité de Nutrition Azotée des Plantes, Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, INRA Versailles, Versailles 78000, France.


Plants, unlike animals, have plastic organ growth that is largely dependent on environmental information. However, so far, little is known about how this information is perceived and transduced into coherent growth and developmental decisions. Here, we report that the growth of Arabidopsis is positively correlated with the level of expression of the TARGET OF RAPAMYCIN (TOR) kinase. Diminished or augmented expression of the AtTOR gene results in a dose-dependent decrease or increase, respectively, in organ and cell size, seed production and resistance to osmotic stress. Strong downregulation of AtTOR expression by inducible RNA interference also leads to a post-germinative halt in growth and development, which phenocopies the action of the plant hormone abscisic acid, to an early senescence and to a reduction in the amount of translated messenger RNA. Thus, we propose that the AtTOR kinase is one of the contributors to the link between environmental cues and growth processes in plants.

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