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Plant Cell. 1996 Feb;8(2):259-69.

Okadaic acid, a protein phosphatase inhibitor, blocks calcium changes, gene expression, and cell death induced by gibberellin in wheat aleurone cells.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey 07102, USA.


The cereal aleurone functions during germination by secreting hydrolases, mainly alpha-amylase, into the starchy endosperm. Multiple signal transduction pathways exist in cereal aleurone cells that enable them to modulate hydrolase production in response to both hormonal and environmental stimuli. Gibberellic acid (GA) promotes hydrolase production, whereas abscisic acid (ABA), hypoxia, and osmotic stress reduce amylase production. In an effort to identify the components of transduction pathways in aleurone cells, we have investigated the effect of okadaic acid (OA), a protein phosphatase inhibitor, on stimulus-response coupling for GA, ABA, and hypoxia. We found that OA (100 nM) completely inhibited all the GA responses that we measured, from rapid changes in cytosolic Ca2+ through changes in gene expression and accelerated cell death. OA (100 nM) partially inhibited ABA responses, as measured by changes in the level of PHAV1, a cDNA for an ABA-induced mRNA in barley. In contrast, OA had no effect on the response to hypoxia, as measured by changes in cytosolic Ca2+ and by changes in enzyme activity and RNA levels of alcohol dehydrogenase. Our data indicate that OA-sensitive protein phosphatases act early in the transduction pathway of GA but are not involved in the response to hypoxia. These data provide a basis for a model of multiple transduction pathways in which the level of cytosolic Ca2+ is a key point of convergence controlling changes in stimulus-response coupling.

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