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ABI5-binding proteins (AFPs) alter transcription of ABA-induced genes via a variety of interactions with chromatin modifiers


Key message

Overexpression of ABI5/ABF binding proteins (AFPs) results in extreme ABA resistance of seeds via multiple mechanisms repressing ABA response, including interactions with histone deacetylases and the co-repressor TOPLESS. Several ABI5/ABF binding proteins (AFPs) inhibit ABA response, resulting in extreme ABA resistance in transgenic Arabidopsis overexpression lines, but their mechanism of action has remained obscure. By analogy to the related Novel Interactor of JAZ (NINJA) protein, it was suggested that the AFPs interact with the co-repressor TOPLESS to inhibit ABA-regulated gene expression. This study shows that the AFPs that inhibit ABA response have intrinsic repressor activity in a heterologous system, which does not depend on the domain involved in the interaction with TOPLESS. This domain is also not essential for repressing ABA response in transgenic plants, but does contribute to stronger ABA resistance. Additional interactions between some AFPs and histone deacetylase subunits were observed in yeast two-hybrid and bimolecular fluorescence assays, consistent with a more direct mechanism of AFP-mediated repression of gene expression. Chemical inhibition of histone deacetylase activity by trichostatin A suppressed AFP effects on a small fraction of the ABI5-regulated genes tested. Collectively, these results suggest that the AFPs participate in multiple mechanisms modulating ABA response, including both TOPLESS-dependent and -independent chromatin modification.

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