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ABA is a phytohormone involved in diverse plant events such as seed germination and drought response. An F-box protein functions as a substrate receptor of the SCF complex and is responsible for ubiquitination of target proteins, triggering their subsequent degradation mediated by ubiquitin proteasome system. Here, we have isolated a gene named ARABIDOPSIS F-BOX PROTEIN HYPERSENSITIVE TO ABA 1 (AFA1) that was upregulated by ABA. AFA1 interacted with adaptor proteins of the SCF complex, implying its role as a substrate receptor of the complex. Its loss of function mutants, afa1 seedlings, exhibited ABA-hypersensitivity, including delayed germination in the presence of ABA. Moreover, loss of AFA1 led to increased drought tolerance in adult plants. Microarray data with ABA treatments indicated that 129 and 219 genes were upregulated or downregulated, respectively, by more than three times in afa1 relative to the wild type. Among the upregulated genes in afa1, the expression of 28.7% was induced by more than three times in the presence of ABA, while only 9.3% was repressed to the same extent. These data indicate that AFA1 is involved in the downregulation of many ABA-inducible genes, in accordance with the ABA-hypersensitive phenotype of afa1. Epistasis analysis showed that AFA1 could play a role upstream of ABI4 and ABI5 in the ABA signaling for germination inhibition. Collectively, our findings suggest that AFA1 is a novel F-box protein that negatively regulates ABA signaling. © 2021 Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society.


Hani Kim, Eunyoung Song, Yeojin Kim, Eunsil Choi, Jihwan Hwang, Jae-Hoon Lee. Loss-of-function of ARABIDOPSIS F-BOX PROTEIN HYPERSENSITIVE TO ABA 1 enhances drought tolerance and delays germination. Physiologia plantarum. 2021 Dec;173(4):2376-2389

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PMID: 34687457

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