- •Dehydrins are a type of late embryogenesis abundant protein. Some dehydrins are involved in the response to various abiotic stresses. Accumulation of dehydrins enhances the drought, cold and salt tolerances of transgenic plants, although the underlying mechanism is unclear. MtCAS31 (Medicago Truncatula cold-acclimation specific protein 31) is a Y2K4-type dehydrin that was isolated from Medicago truncatula.
- •We analyzed the subcellular and histochemical localization of MtCAS31, and the expression patterns of MtCAS31 under different stresses. Transgenic Arabidopsis that overexpressed MtCAS31 was used to determine the function of MtCAS31. A yeast two-hybrid assay was used to screen potential proteins that could interact with MtCAS31. The interaction was confirmed by bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) assay.
- •After a 3-h drought treatment, the expression of MtCAS31 significantly increased 600-fold. MtCAS31 overexpression dramatically reduced stomatal density and markedly enhanced the drought tolerance of transgenic Arabidopsis. MtCAS31 could interact with AtICE1 (inducer of CBF expression 1) and the AtICE1 homologous protein Mt7g083900.1, which was identified from Medicago truncatula both in vitro and in vivo.
- •Our findings demonstrate that a dehydrin induces decreased stomatal density. Most importantly, the interaction of MtCAS31 with AtICE1 plays a role in stomatal development. We hypothesize that the interaction of MtCAS31 and AtICE1 caused the decrease in stomatal density to enhance the drought resistance of transgenic Arabidopsis.