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TaABI5, a wheat homolog of Arabidopsis thaliana ABA insensitive 5, controls seed germination

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Abscisic acid (ABA) response element (ABRE)-binding factors (ABFs) are basic region/leucine zipper motif (bZIP) transcription factors that regulate the expression of ABA-induced genes containing ABRE in their promoters. The amino acid sequence of the wheat bZIP protein, TaABI5, showed high homology to that of Arabidopsis ABA insensitive 5 (ABI5). TaABI5 was classified into the clade of ABI5s in Arabidopsis and rice, unlike TRAB1 of rice, Wabi5 of wheat, and HvABI5 of barley in the bZIP Group A family, by a phylogenetic analysis. TaABI5 was strongly expressed in seeds during the late ripening and maturing stages; however, its expression level markedly decreased after germination. An in situ hybridization analysis showed that TaABI5 mRNA accumulated in seed embryos, particularly the scutellum. In a transient assay using wheat aleurone cells, TaABI5 activated the promoter of Em containing ABRE, which is an embryogenesis abundant protein gene, indicating that TaABI5 acts as a transcription factor in wheat seeds. Furthermore, the seeds of transgenic Arabidopsis lines introduced with 35S:TaABI5 exhibited high sensitivity to ABA and the inhibition of germination. The seed dormancy of the transgenic Arabidopsis lines was stronger than that of Col. These results support TaABI5 playing an important role in mature seeds, particularly before seed germination, and acting as a functional ortholog to Arabidopsis ABI5.

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We would like to thank Dr. Quatorano for kindly providing the pBM113Kp construct and Dr. Nambara for providing E74-1 (abi5-7). We are grateful to Dr. Nakazono for providing the wheat material Norin-61.

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Correspondence to Shigeko Utsugi.

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Utsugi, S., Ashikawa, I., Nakamura, S. et al. TaABI5, a wheat homolog of Arabidopsis thaliana ABA insensitive 5, controls seed germination. J Plant Res 133, 245–256 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-020-01166-3

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  • Abscisic acid (ABA)
  • TaABI5
  • Seed germination
  • Triticum aestivum L