Molecular Genetics and Genomics

, Volume 282, Issue 5, pp 503–516 | Cite as

Functional characterization of the Arabidopsis bHLH92 transcription factor in abiotic stress

  • Yuanqing Jiang
  • Bo Yang
  • Michael K. DeyholosEmail author
Original Paper


In our previous microarray analysis of NaCl-treated Arabidopsis roots, we identified a basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor, bHLH92 (At5g43650), as one of the transcripts showing the greatest fold-increase in abundance upon NaCl exposure. Here, we characterize the role of bHLH92 in the context of abiotic stress physiology and hormone responses. We observed that bHLH92 transcript abundance increases in response to NaCl, dehydration, mannitol, and cold treatments, and compared these responses to those of two closely related genes: bHLH41 and bHLH42. The NaCl-inducibility of bHLH92 was only partially dependent on abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis and SALT OVERLY SENSITIVE2 (SOS2) pathways. As compared to WT, root elongation of bhlh92 mutants was more sensitive to mannitol, and these mutants also showed increased electrolyte leakage following NaCl treatments. Overexpression of bHLH92 moderately increased the tolerance to NaCl and osmotic stresses. Finally, we identified at least 19 putative downstream target genes of bHLH92 under NaCl treatment using an oligonucleotide microarray. Together these data show that bHLH92 functions in plant responses to osmotic stresses, although the net contribution of bHLH92-regulated genes to stress tolerance appears relatively limited in proportion to what might be expected from its transcript expression pattern.


Arabidopsis thaliana bHLH92 Dehydration Microarray NaCl Osmotic 



Basic helix-loop-helix


Abscisic acid


ABA insensitive


Calcineurin B-like protein


CBL-interacting protein kinase


Days after stratification


Late embryogenesis abundant


Murashige and Skoog


Methyl viologen




Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction


Relative electrolyte leakage


Reactive oxygen species


Salt overly sensitive


Transcription factor





We would like to thank ABRC for providing the T-DNA insertion and mutant seeds. We are also grateful to Dr. Anthony Cornish and Troy Locke in MBSU for help in microarray and qRT-PCR, to Dr. Enrico Scarpella for help in confocal microscopy, to Mary DePauw for technical assistance, and to Manjeet Kumari for developing Arabidopsis hydroponics system in our lab. The project was funded by a NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) Discovery grant and Alberta Ingenuity awards to M.K.D.

Supplementary material

438_2009_481_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (618 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 619 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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