, Volume 64, Issue 6, pp 633-644
Date: 29 May 2007

Arabidopsis EIN2 modulates stress response through abscisic acid response pathway

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The nuclear protein ETHYLENE INSENSITIVE2 (EIN2) is a central component of the ethylene signal transduction pathway in plants, and plays an important role in mediating cross-links between several hormone response pathways, including abscisic acid (ABA). ABA mediates stress responses in plants, but there is no report on the role of EIN2 on plant response to salt and osmotic stresses. Here, we show that EIN2 gene regulates plant response to osmotic and salt stress through an ABA-dependent pathway in Arabidopsis. The expression of the EIN2 gene is down-regulated by salt and osmotic stress. An Arabidopsis EIN2 null mutant was supersensitive to both salt and osmotic stress conditions. Disruption of EIN2 specifically altered the expression pattern of stress marker gene RD29B in response to the stresses, but not the stress- or ABA-responsive genes RD29A and RD22, suggesting EIN2 modulates plant stress responses through the RD29B branch of the ABA response. Furthermore, disruption of EIN2 caused substantial increase in ABA. Lastly, our data showed that mutations of other key genes in ethylene pathway also had altered sensitivity to abiotic stresses, indicating that the intact ethylene may involve in the stress response. Taken together, the results identified EIN2 as a cross-link node in ethylene, ABA and stress signaling pathways, and EIN2 is necessary to induce developmental arrest during seed germination, and seedling establishment, as well as subsequent vegetative growth, thereby allowing the survival and growth of plants under the adverse environmental conditions.

Youning Wang and Chuang Liu contributed equally to this work.