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Keywords:

  • ABA;
  • abiotic stress;
  • Arabidopsis thaliana ;
  • bHLH122;
  • CYP707A3

Summary

  • Although proteins in the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) family are universal transcription factors in eukaryotes, the biological roles of most bHLH family members are not well understood in plants.
  • The Arabidopsis thaliana bHLH122 transcripts were strongly induced by drought, NaCl and osmotic stresses, but not by ABA treatment. Promoter::GUS analysis showed that bHLH122 was highly expressed in vascular tissues and guard cells. Compared with wild-type (WT) plants, transgenic plants overexpressing bHLH122 displayed greater resistance to drought, NaCl and osmotic stresses. In contrast, the bhlh122 loss-of-function mutant was more sensitive to NaCl and osmotic stresses than were WT plants.
  • Microarray analysis indicated that bHLH122 was important for the expression of a number of abiotic stress-responsive genes. In electrophoretic mobility shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, bHLH122 could bind directly to the G-box/E-box cis-elements in the CYP707A3 promoter, and repress its expression. Further, up-regulation of bHLH122 substantially increased cellular ABA levels.
  • These results suggest that bHLH122 functions as a positive regulator of drought, NaCl and osmotic signaling.