, Volume 235, Issue 4, pp 761-778
Date: 01 Nov 2011

Characterization of StABF1, a stress-responsive bZIP transcription factor from Solanum tuberosum L. that is phosphorylated by StCDPK2 in vitro

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ABF/AREB bZIP transcription factors mediate plant abiotic stress responses by regulating the expression of stress-related genes. These proteins bind to the abscisic acid (ABA)-responsive element (ABRE), which is the major cis-acting regulatory sequence in ABA-dependent gene expression. In an effort to understand the molecular mechanisms of abiotic stress resistance in cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), we have cloned and characterized an ABF/AREB-like transcription factor from potato, named StABF1. The predicted protein shares 45–57% identity with A. thaliana ABFs proteins and 96% identity with the S. lycopersicum SlAREB1 and presents all of the distinctive features of ABF/AREB transcription factors. Furthermore, StABF1 is able to bind to the ABRE in vitro. StABF1 gene is induced in response to ABA, drought, salt stress and cold, suggesting that it might be a key regulator of ABA-dependent stress signaling pathways in cultivated potato. StABF1 is phosphorylated in response to ABA and salt stress in a calcium-dependent manner, and we have identified a potato CDPK isoform (StCDPK2) that phosphorylates StABF1 in vitro. Interestingly, StABF1 expression is increased during tuber development and by tuber-inducing conditions (high sucrose/nitrogen ratio) in leaves. We also found that StABF1 calcium-dependent phosphorylation is stimulated by tuber-inducing conditions and inhibited by gibberellic acid, which inhibits tuberization.