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      Acetic Acid Treatment Enhances Drought Avoidance in Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz)

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          The external application of acetic acid has recently been reported to enhance survival of drought in plants such as Arabidopsis, rapeseed, maize, rice, and wheat, but the effects of acetic acid application on increased drought tolerance in woody plants such as a tropical crop “cassava” remain elusive. A molecular understanding of acetic acid-induced drought avoidance in cassava will contribute to the development of technology that can be used to enhance drought tolerance, without resorting to transgenic technology or advancements in cassava cultivation. In the present study, morphological, physiological, and molecular responses to drought were analyzed in cassava after treatment with acetic acid. Results indicated that the acetic acid-treated cassava plants had a higher level of drought avoidance than water-treated, control plants. Specifically, higher leaf relative water content, and chlorophyll and carotenoid levels were observed as soils dried out during the drought treatment. Leaf temperatures in acetic acid-treated cassava plants were higher relative to leaves on plants pretreated with water and an increase of ABA content was observed in leaves of acetic acid-treated plants, suggesting that stomatal conductance and the transpiration rate in leaves of acetic acid-treated plants decreased to maintain relative water contents and to avoid drought. Transcriptome analysis revealed that acetic acid treatment increased the expression of ABA signaling-related genes, such as OPEN STOMATA 1 (OST1) and protein phosphatase 2C; as well as the drought response and tolerance-related genes, such as the outer membrane tryptophan-rich sensory protein (TSPO), and the heat shock proteins. Collectively, the external application of acetic acid enhances drought avoidance in cassava through the upregulation of ABA signaling pathway genes and several stress responses- and tolerance-related genes. These data support the idea that adjustments of the acetic acid application to plants is useful to enhance drought tolerance, to minimize the growth inhibition in the agricultural field.

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          Regulation of drought tolerance by gene manipulation of 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase, a key enzyme in abscisic acid biosynthesis in Arabidopsis.

          Abscisic acid (ABA), a plant hormone, is involved in responses to environmental stresses such as drought and high salinity, and is required for stress tolerance. ABA is synthesized de novo in response to dehydration. 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase (NCED) is thought to be a key enzyme in ABA biosynthesis. Here we demonstrate that the expression of an NCED gene of Arabidopsis, AtNCED3, is induced by drought stress and controls the level of endogenous ABA under drought-stressed conditions. Overexpression of AtNCED3 in transgenic Arabidopsis caused an increase in endogenous ABA level, and promoted transcription of drought- and ABA-inducible genes. Plants overexpressing AtNCED3 showed a reduction in transpiration rate from leaves and an improvement in drought tolerance. By contrast, antisense suppression and disruption of AtNCED3 gave a drought-sensitive phenotype. These results indicate that the expression of AtNCED3 plays a key role in ABA biosynthesis under drought-stressed conditions in Arabidopsis. We improved drought tolerance by gene manipulation of AtNCED3 causing the accumulation of endogenous ABA.
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            Molecular Basis of the Core Regulatory Network in ABA Responses: Sensing, Signaling and Transport

            ABA is a major phytohormone that regulates a broad range of plant traits and is especially important for adaptation to environmental conditions. Our understanding of the molecular basis of ABA responses in plants improved dramatically in 2009 and 2010, banner years for ABA research. There are three major components; PYR/PYL/ RCAR (an ABA receptor), type 2C protein phosphatase (PP2C; a negative regulator) and SNF1-related protein kinase 2 (SnRK2; a positive regulator), and they offer a double negative regulatory system, [PYR/PYL/RCAR—| PP2C—| SnRK2]. In the absence of ABA, PP2C inactivates SnRK2 by direct dephosphorylation. In response to environmental or developmental cues, ABA promotes the interaction of PYR/PYL/RCAR and PP2C, resulting in PP2C inhibition and SnRK2 activation. This signaling complex can work in both the nucleus and cytosol, as it has been shown that SnRK2 phosphorylates basic-domain leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors or membrane proteins. Several structural analyses of PYR/PYL/RCAR have provided the mechanistic basis for this ‘core signaling’ model, by elucidating the mechanism of ABA binding of receptors, or the ‘gate–latch–lock’ mechanism of interaction with PP2C in inhibiting activity. On the other hand, intercellular ABA transport had remained a major issue, as had intracellular ABA signaling. Recently, two plasma membrane-type ABC transporters were identified and shed light on the influx/efflux system of ABA, resolving how ABA is transported from cell to cell in plants. Our knowledge of ABA responses in plants has been greatly expanded from intracellular signaling to intercellular transport of ABA.
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              Arabidopsis OST1 protein kinase mediates the regulation of stomatal aperture by abscisic acid and acts upstream of reactive oxygen species production.

              During drought, the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) triggers stomatal closure, thus reducing water loss. Using infrared thermography, we isolated two allelic Arabidopsis mutants (ost1-1 and ost1-2) impaired in the ability to limit their transpiration upon drought. These recessive ost1 mutations disrupted ABA induction of stomatal closure as well as ABA inhibition of light-induced stomatal opening. By contrast, the ost1 mutations did not affect stomatal regulation by light or CO(2), suggesting that OST1 is involved specifically in ABA signaling. The OST1 gene was isolated by positional cloning and was found to be expressed in stomatal guard cells and vascular tissue. In-gel assays indicated that OST1 is an ABA-activated protein kinase related to the Vicia faba ABA-activated protein kinase (AAPK). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) were shown recently to be an essential intermediate in guard cell ABA signaling. ABA-induced ROS production was disrupted in ost1 guard cells, whereas applied H(2)O(2) or calcium elicited the same degree of stomatal closure in ost1 as in the wild type. These results suggest that OST1 acts in the interval between ABA perception and ROS production. The relative positions of ost1 and the other ABA-insensitive mutations in the ABA signaling network (abi1-1, abi2-1, and gca2) are discussed.

                Author and article information

                1RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science , Yokohama, Japan
                2Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology , Kawaguchi, Japan
                3RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research , Wako, Japan
                4Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science , Noda, Japan
                5Department of Applied Biological Science, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science , Noda, Japan
                6Dormancy and Adaptation Research Unit, RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science , Yokohama, Japan
                7Kihara Institute for Biological Research, Yokohama City University , Yokohama, Japan
                Author notes

                Edited by: Vasileios Fotopoulos, Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus

                Reviewed by: Yasunari Fujita, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences, Japan; Jitendra Kumar, University of Allahabad, India; Fidele Tugizimana, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

                *Correspondence: Motoaki Seki, motoaki.seki@

                This article was submitted to Plant Abiotic Stress, a section of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science

                Front Plant Sci
                Front Plant Sci
                Front. Plant Sci.
                Frontiers in Plant Science
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                24 April 2019
                : 10
                Copyright © 2019 Utsumi, Utsumi, Tanaka, Ha, Takahashi, Matsui, Matsunaga, Matsunaga, Kanno, Seo, Okamoto, Moriya and Seki.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Figures: 6, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 50, Pages: 12, Words: 0
                Funded by: Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology 10.13039/501100003382
                Plant Science
                Original Research

                Plant science & Botany

                drought response, aba, acetic acid, cassava, drought avoidance


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