Regulation of osmotic stress-responsive gene expression by the LOS6/ABA1 locus in Arabidopsis

Liming Xiong, Hojoung Lee, Manabu Ishitani, Jian Kang Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

350 Citations (Scopus)


Drought and high salinity induce the expression of many plant genes. To understand the signal transduction mechanisms underlying the activation of these genes, we carried out a genetic screen to isolate Arabidopsis mutants defective in osmotic stress-regulated gene induction. Here we report the isolation, characterization, and cloning of a mutation, los6, which diminished osmotic stress activation of a reporter gene. RNA blot analysis indicates that under osmotic stress the transcript levels for stress-responsive genes such as RD29A, COR15A, KIN1, COR47, RD19, and ADH are lower in los6 plants than in wild type plants. los6 plants were found to have reduced phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) accumulation and to be allelic to the ABA-deficient mutant, aba1. LOS6/ABA1 encodes a zeaxanthin epoxidase that functions in ABA biosynthesis. Its expression is enhanced by osmotic stress. Furthermore, we found that there exists a positive feedback regulation by ABA on the expression of LOS6/ABA1, which may underscore a quick adaptation strategy for plants under osmotic stress. Similar positive regulation by ABA also exists for other ABA biosynthesis genes AA03 and LOS5/ABA3 and in certain genetic backgrounds, NCED3. This feedback regulation by ABA is impaired in the ABA-insensitive mutant abil but not in abi2. Moreover, the up-regulation of LOS6/ABA1, LOS5/ABA3, AA03, and NCED3 by osmotic stress is reduced substantially in ABA-deficient mutants. Transgenic plants overexpressing LOS6/ABA1 showed an increased RD29A-LUC expression under osmotic stress. These results suggest that the level of gene induction by osmotic stress is dependent on the dosage of the zeaxanthin epoxidase enzyme.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8588-8596
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2002

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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