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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26661. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026661. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

A nucleotide metabolite controls stress-responsive gene expression and plant development.

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Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St Louis, Missouri, United States of America.


Abiotic stress, such as drought and high salinity, activates a network of signaling cascades that lead to the expression of many stress-responsive genes in plants. The Arabidopsis FIERY1 (FRY1) protein is a negative regulator of stress and abscisic acid (ABA) signaling and exhibits both an inositol polyphosphatase and a 3',5'-bisphosphate nucleotidase activity in vitro. The FRY1 nucleotidase degrades the sulfation byproduct 3'-phosphoadenosine-5'-phosphate (PAP), yet its in vivo functions and particularly its roles in stress gene regulation remain unclear. Here we developed a LC-MS/MS method to quantitatively measure PAP levels in plants and investigated the roles of this nucleotidase activity in stress response and plant development. It was found that PAP level was tightly controlled in plants and did not accumulate to any significant level either under normal conditions or under NaCl, LiCl, cold, or ABA treatments. In contrast, high levels of PAP were detected in multiple mutant alleles of FRY1 but not in mutants of other FRY1 family members, indicating that FRY1 is the major enzyme that hydrolyzes PAP in vivo. By genetically reducing PAP levels in fry1 mutants either through overexpression of a yeast PAP nucleotidase or by generating a triple mutant of fry1 apk1 apk2 that is defective in the biosynthesis of the PAP precursor 3'-phosphoadenosine-5'-phosphosulfate (PAPS), we demonstrated that the developmental defects and superinduction of stress-responsive genes in fry1 mutants correlate with PAP accumulation in planta. We also found that the hypersensitive stress gene regulation in fry1 requires ABH1 but not ABI1, two other negative regulators in ABA signaling pathways. Unlike in yeast, however, FRY1 overexpression in Arabidopsis could not enhance salt tolerance. Taken together, our results demonstrate that PAP is critical for stress gene regulation and plant development, yet the FRY1 nucleotidase that catabolizes PAP may not be an in vivo salt toxicity target in Arabidopsis.

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