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Mol Cells. 2012 Jun;33(6):617-26. doi: 10.1007/s10059-012-0080-8. Epub 2012 May 17.

Overexpression of Arabidopsis translationally controlled tumor protein gene AtTCTP enhances drought tolerance with rapid ABA-induced stomatal closure.

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Department of Biotechnology and Kumho Life Science Laboratory, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 500-757, Korea.


Translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP), also termed P23 in human, belongs to a family of calcium- and tubulin-binding proteins, and it is generally regarded as a growth-regulating protein. Recently, Arabidopsis TCTP (AtTCTP) has been reported to function as an important growth regulator in plants. On the other hand, plant TCTP has been suggested to be involved in abiotic stress signaling such as aluminum, salt, and water deficit by a number of microarray or proteomic analyses. In this study, the biological functions of AtTCTP were investigated by using transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing AtTCTP. Interestingly, AtTCTP overexpression enhanced drought tolerance in plants. The expression analysis showed that AtTCTP was expressed in guard cells as well as in actively growing tissues. Physiological studies of the overexpression lines showed increased ABA- and calcium-induced stomatal closure ratios and faster stomatal closing responses to ABA. Furthermore, in vitro protein-protein interaction analysis confirmed the interaction between AtTCTP and microtubules, and microtubule cosedimentation assays revealed that the microtubule binding of AtTCTP increased after calcium treatment. These results demonstrate that the overexpression of AtTCTP confers drought tolerance to plants by rapid ABA-mediated stomatal closure via the interaction with microtubules in which calcium binding enhances the interaction. Collectively, the present results suggest that the plant TCTP has molecular properties similar to animal TCTPs, such as tubulin- and calcium-binding, and that it functions in ABA-mediated stomatal movement, in addition to regulating the growth of plants.

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