, Volume 261, Issue 2, pp 307-316

Tissue- and environmental response-specific expression of 10 PP2C transcripts in Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

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Ten transcripts (Mpc1-10) homologous to protein phosphatases of the 2C family have been isolated from the halophyte Mesembryanthemum crystallinum (common ice plant). Transcripts range in size from 1.6 to 2.6 kb, and encode proteins whose catalytic domains are between 24% and 62% identical to that of the Arabidopsis PP2C, ABI1. Transcript expression is tissue specific. Two isoforms are present only in roots (Mpc1 and Mpc5), three in young leaves (Mpc6, 8 and 9), two in old leaves (Mpc6 and Mpc8), and two in post-flowering leaves (Mpc8 and Mpc9). Mpc2 is strongly expressed in roots and also in seeds, meristematic tissues and mature flowers. Mpc3 is specific for leaf meristems, and Mpc4 is found in root and leaf meristems. Mpc7 is restricted to meristematic tissues. Mpc10 is only present in mature flowers. Mpc2 (in roots and leaves), Mpc5 (in roots) and Mpc8 (weakly in leaves) are induced by salinity stress and drought conditions with different kinetics in different tissues, but other Mpcs are downregulated by stress. Cold stress (4° C) leads to a decline in Mpc5 and Mpc6, but low temperature provoked a long-term (days) increase in Mpc2 levels in leaves and a transient increase (less than 24 h) in roots. Four full-length transcripts have been obtained. In each case, after over-expression in E.coli, the isolated proteins exhibited (Mg2+-dependent, okadeic acid-insensitive) protein phosphatase activity, although activity against 32P-phosphocasein varied among different PP2Cs. Determination of tissue developmental and stress response specificity of PP2C will facilitate functional studies of signal-transducing enzymes in this halophytic organism.

Received: 23 October 1998 / Accepted: 19 November 1998