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Plant Physiol. 2009 Jan;149(1):434-44. doi: 10.1104/pp.108.130583. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

The Arabidopsis A4 subfamily of lectin receptor kinases negatively regulates abscisic acid response in seed germination.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Lehman College, City University of New York, Bronx, New York 10468, USA.


Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important plant hormone for a wide array of growth and developmental processes and stress responses, but the mechanism of ABA signal perception on the plasma membrane remains to be dissected. A previous GeneChip analysis revealed that a member of the A4 subfamily of lectin receptor kinases (LecRKs) of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), At5g01540 (designated LecRKA4.1), is up-regulated in response to a low dose of ABA in the rop10-1 background. Here, we present functional evidence to support its role in ABA response. LecRKA4.1 is expressed in seeds and leaves but not in roots, and the protein is localized to the plasma membrane. A T-DNA knockout mutant, lecrka4.1-1, slightly enhanced ABA inhibition of seed germination. Interestingly, LecRKA4.1 is adjacent to two other members of the A4 subfamily of LecRK genes, At5g01550 (LecRKA4.2) and At5g01560 (LecRKA4.3). We found that loss-of-function mutants of LecRKA4.2 and LecRKA4.3 exhibited similarly weak enhancement of ABA response in seed germination inhibition. Furthermore, LecRKA4.2 suppression by RNA interference in lecrka4.1-1 showed stronger ABA inhibition of seed germination than lecrka4.1-1, while the response to gibberellic acid was not affected in lecrka4.1-1 and lecrka4.1-1; LecRKA4.2 (RNAi) lines. Expression studies, together with network-based analysis, suggest that LecRKA4.1 and LecRKA4.2 regulate some of the ABA-responsive genes. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the A4 subfamily of LecRKs has a redundant function in the negative regulation of ABA response in seed germination.

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