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Plant Cell. 2008 Oct;20(10):2894-908. doi: 10.1105/tpc.108.058669. Epub 2008 Oct 10.

Small ubiquitin-like modifier proteases OVERLY TOLERANT TO SALT1 and -2 regulate salt stress responses in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Biomedical and Life Sciences Department, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, United Kingdom.


Understanding salt stress signaling is key to producing salt-tolerant crops. The small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) is a crucial regulator of signaling proteins in eukaryotes. Attachment of SUMO onto substrates is reversible, and SUMO proteases, which specifically cleave the SUMO-substrate linkages, play a vital regulatory role during SUMOylation. We have identified two SUMO proteases, OVERLY TOLERANT TO SALT1 (OTS1) and OTS2, which are localized in the nucleus and act redundantly to regulate salt stress responses in Arabidopsis thaliana. ots1 ots2 double mutants show extreme sensitivity to salt. However, under low-salt conditions, ots1 ots2 double mutants are phenotypically similar to wild-type plants. We demonstrate that salt stress induces a dose-dependent accumulation of SUMO1/2-conjugated proteins in Arabidopsis. ots1 ots2 double mutants constitutively accumulate high levels of SUMO1/2-conjugated proteins even under nonstress conditions and show a further dramatic increase in SUMO1/2-conjugated proteins in response to salt stress. Transgenic lines overexpressing OTS1 have increased salt tolerance and a concomitant reduction in the levels of SUMOylated proteins. Conversely, the ectopic expression of the mutant ots1(C526S) protein lacking SUMO protease activity fails to produce a salt-tolerant phenotype. We show that salt directly affects OTS1-dependent signaling by inducing OTS1 protein degradation. Our results indicate a requirement for OTS1 deSUMOylation activity in plant salt tolerance responses.

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