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Plant J. 2008 Nov;56(4):575-89. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03622.x. Epub 2008 Jul 9.

Mutations in AtCML9, a calmodulin-like protein from Arabidopsis thaliana, alter plant responses to abiotic stress and abscisic acid.

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UMR 5546 CNRS-Université Toulouse III, Pôle de Biotechnologie Végétale, 24 Chemin de Borde-Rouge, BP42617, 31326 Castanet-Tolosan, France.


Many stimuli, such as hormones and abiotic stress factors, elicit changes in intracellular calcium levels that serve to convey information and activate appropriate responses. The Ca2+ signals are perceived by different Ca2+ receptors, and calmodulin (CaM) is one of the best-characterized Ca2+ sensors in eukaryotes. Calmodulin-like (CML) proteins also exist in plants; they share sequence similarity with the ubiquitous and highly conserved CaM, but their roles at the physiological and molecular levels are largely unknown. We present data on Arabidopsis thaliana CML9 (AtCML9) that exhibits 46% amino acid sequence identity with CaM. AtCML9 transcripts are found in all major organs, and a putative AtCML9 regulatory region confers reporter gene expression at various sites, including root apex, stomata, hydathodes and trichomes. AtCML9 expression is rapidly induced by abiotic stress and abscisic acid (ABA) in young seedlings, and by using cml9 knock-out mutants we present evidence that AtCML9 plays essential roles in modulating responses to salt stress and ABA. Seed germination and seedling growth for the mutant lines present a hypersensitive response to ABA that could be correlated with enhanced tolerance to salt stress and water deficit. Mutations of the AtCML9 gene also alter the expression of several stress-regulated genes, suggesting that AtCML9 is involved in salt stress tolerance through its effects on the ABA-mediated pathways.

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