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Plant Cell. 2012 May;24(5):2184-99. doi: 10.1105/tpc.112.095935. Epub 2012 May 11.

A vacuolar β-glucosidase homolog that possesses glucose-conjugated abscisic acid hydrolyzing activity plays an important role in osmotic stress responses in Arabidopsis.

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Division of Molecular and Life Science, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang 790-784, Korea.


The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays a critical role in various physiological processes, including adaptation to abiotic stresses. In Arabidopsis thaliana, ABA levels are increased both through de novo biosynthesis and via β-glucosidase homolog1 (BG1)-mediated hydrolysis of Glc-conjugated ABA (ABA-GE). However, it is not known how many different β-glucosidase proteins produce ABA from ABA-GE and how the multiple ABA production pathways are coordinated to increase ABA levels. Here, we report that a previously undiscovered β-glucosidase homolog, BG2, produced ABA by hydrolyzing ABA-GE and plays a role in osmotic stress response. BG2 localized to the vacuole as a high molecular weight complex and accumulated to high levels under dehydration stress. BG2 hydrolyzed ABA-GE to ABA in vitro. In addition, BG2 increased ABA levels in protoplasts upon application of exogenous ABA-GE. Overexpression of BG2 rescued the bg1 mutant phenotype, as observed for the overexpression of NCED3 in bg1 mutants. Multiple Arabidopsis bg2 alleles with a T-DNA insertion in BG2 were more sensitive to dehydration and NaCl stress, whereas BG2 overexpression resulted in enhanced resistance to dehydration and NaCl stress. Based on these observations, we propose that, in addition to the de novo biosynthesis, ABA is produced in multiple organelles by organelle-specific β-glucosidases in response to abiotic stresses.

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