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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 14;8(11):e79248. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079248. eCollection 2013.

Inducible expression of Arabidopsis response regulator 22 (ARR22), a type-C ARR, in transgenic Arabidopsis enhances drought and freezing tolerance.

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Department of Bioenergy Science and Technology and Kumho Life Science Laboratory, Chonnam National University, Buk-Gu, Gwangju, Korea.


The Arabidopsis two-component signaling system, which is comprised of sensor histidine kinases, histidine phosphotransfer proteins, and response regulators, mediates cytokinin response as well as various other plant responses including abiotic stress responses. Arabidopsis response regulators (ARRs) are classified into type-A, -B, and -C. Although the roles of type-A and -B ARRs are well established in Arabidopsis plant signaling, roles of type-C ARRs, ARR22 and ARR24, remain elusive. ARR22, a preferentially cytosolic protein, interacts with certain Arabidopsis histidine phosphotransfer proteins (AHPs) and displays phosphatase activity on AHP5. ARR22 is induced by cold and dehydration. Here, we show that inducible overexpression of ARR22 in Arabidopsis enhanced dehydration, drought, and cold tolerance in a dexamethasone-dependent manner, whereas mutation of the putative phospho-accepting Asp to Asn in ARR22 (ARR22(D74N)) abolished these tolerance phenotypes. Overexpression of ARR22 decreased electrolyte leakage in dehydration-, drought-, or cold-stressed transgenic Arabidopsis plants compared with that of ARR22(D74N) or compared with wild-type plants. Transpiration rates and stomatal apertures were not affected by ARR22 overexpression. No significant difference in both dehydration and freezing tolerance was observed between wild-type and arr22 mutants with or without cytokinin preincubation, consistent with the lack of phenotypes of arr22 mutants in their vegetative development. Meta-profile analyses of the microarray data on ARR22-responsive genes indicate that ARR22 modulates expression of a variety of abiotic stress-responsive genes, which might contribute to increasing drought and freezing tolerance. Taken together, these results suggest that ARR22 plays a positive role in the stress tolerance response in part via enhancing cell membrane integrity and that phospho-histidine phosphatase activity of ARR22 may be required for this function.

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