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      Effects of abiotic stress on plants: a systems biology perspective


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          The natural environment for plants is composed of a complex set of abiotic stresses and biotic stresses. Plant responses to these stresses are equally complex. Systems biology approaches facilitate a multi-targeted approach by allowing one to identify regulatory hubs in complex networks. Systems biology takes the molecular parts (transcripts, proteins and metabolites) of an organism and attempts to fit them into functional networks or models designed to describe and predict the dynamic activities of that organism in different environments. In this review, research progress in plant responses to abiotic stresses is summarized from the physiological level to the molecular level. New insights obtained from the integration of omics datasets are highlighted. Gaps in our knowledge are identified, providing additional focus areas for crop improvement research in the future.

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          Most cited references102

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          Abscisic acid inhibits type 2C protein phosphatases via the PYR/PYL family of START proteins.

          Type 2C protein phosphatases (PP2Cs) are vitally involved in abscisic acid (ABA) signaling. Here, we show that a synthetic growth inhibitor called pyrabactin functions as a selective ABA agonist. Pyrabactin acts through PYRABACTIN RESISTANCE 1 (PYR1), the founding member of a family of START proteins called PYR/PYLs, which are necessary for both pyrabactin and ABA signaling in vivo. We show that ABA binds to PYR1, which in turn binds to and inhibits PP2Cs. We conclude that PYR/PYLs are ABA receptors functioning at the apex of a negative regulatory pathway that controls ABA signaling by inhibiting PP2Cs. Our results illustrate the power of the chemical genetic approach for sidestepping genetic redundancy.
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            Regulators of PP2C phosphatase activity function as abscisic acid sensors.

            The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) acts as a developmental signal and as an integrator of environmental cues such as drought and cold. Key players in ABA signal transduction include the type 2C protein phosphatases (PP2Cs) ABI1 and ABI2, which act by negatively regulating ABA responses. In this study, we identify interactors of ABI1 and ABI2 which we have named regulatory components of ABA receptor (RCARs). In Arabidopsis, RCARs belong to a family with 14 members that share structural similarity with class 10 pathogen-related proteins. RCAR1 was shown to bind ABA, to mediate ABA-dependent inactivation of ABI1 or ABI2 in vitro, and to antagonize PP2C action in planta. Other RCARs also mediated ABA-dependent regulation of ABI1 and ABI2, consistent with a combinatorial assembly of receptor complexes.
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              Functional analysis of an Arabidopsis transcription factor, DREB2A, involved in drought-responsive gene expression.

              Transcription factors DREB1A/CBF3 and DREB2A specifically interact with cis-acting dehydration-responsive element/C-repeat (DRE/CRT) involved in cold and drought stress-responsive gene expression in Arabidopsis thaliana. Intact DREB2A expression does not activate downstream genes under normal growth conditions, suggesting that DREB2A requires posttranslational modification for activation, but the activation mechanism has not been clarified. DREB2A domain analysis using Arabidopsis protoplasts identified a transcriptional activation domain between residues 254 and 335, and deletion of a region between residues 136 and 165 transforms DREB2A to a constitutive active form. Overexpression of constitutive active DREB2A resulted in significant drought stress tolerance but only slight freezing tolerance in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. Microarray and RNA gel blot analyses revealed that DREB2A regulates expression of many water stress-inducible genes. However, some genes downstream of DREB2A are not downstream of DREB1A, which also recognizes DRE/CRT but functions in cold stress-responsive gene expression. Synthetic green fluorescent protein gave a strong signal in the nucleus under unstressed control conditions when fused to constitutive active DREB2A but only a weak signal when fused to full-length DREB2A. The region between DREB2A residues 136 and 165 plays a role in the stability of this protein in the nucleus, which is important for protein activation.

                Author and article information

                BMC Plant Biol
                BMC Plant Biology
                BioMed Central
                17 November 2011
                : 11
                : 163
                [1 ]Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mail Stop 330, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89557, USA
                [2 ]Gene Discovery Research Group, RIKEN Plant Science Center, 3-1-1 Koyadai, Tsukuba 305-0074, Japan
                [3 ]Univ. Bordeaux, ISVV, Ecophysiologie et Génomique Fonctionnelle de la Vigne, UMR 1287, F-33882 Villenave d'Ornon, France
                [4 ]Dipartimento di Biotecnologie, Università di Verona, Strada le Grazie 15, 37134 Verona, Italy
                Copyright ©2011 Cramer et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Plant science & Botany
                Plant science & Botany


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