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Overexpression of an ABA-dependent grapevine bZIP transcription factor, VvABF2, enhances osmotic stress in Arabidopsis

Liu, Jinyi, Chu, Jinjin, Ma, Chuangju, Jiang, Yueting, Ma, Yuanchun, Xiong, Jinsong, Cheng, Zong-Ming
Plant cell reports 2019 v.38 no.5 pp. 587-596
Arabidopsis thaliana, Cauliflower mosaic virus, Vitis vinifera, abscisic acid, antioxidants, catalase, cell membranes, drought, gene overexpression, genes, models, osmotic stress, osmotolerance, peroxidase, polyethylene glycol, promoter regions, stress tolerance, superoxide dismutase, transgenic plants
KEY MESSAGE: Overexpression of grapevine VvABF2 gene could enhance osmotic stress tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana but fully required for ABA signaling. The abscisic acid (ABA)-dependent AREB/ABF-SnRK2 pathway has been demonstrated to play a pivotal role in response to osmotic stress in model plants. However, its function in other specific species, for example grapevine, has not been fully characterized. In this study, grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) ABSCISIC ACID RESPONSE ELEMENT-BINDING FACTOR2 (VvABF2), a homologous gene of AREB/ABFs form Arabidopsis, was isolated and constitutively expressed in Arabidopsis under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. The VvABF2 transgenic Arabidopsis plants showed to be more sensitive to exogenous ABA compared to wild type plants and exhibited significant osmotic tolerance, like polyethylene glycol (PEG) and drought but fully required ABA for signaling. This fact was further confirmed by its downstream gene expression assays. In addition, the determination of ROS antioxidant enzymes (including SOD, POD and CAT) and the MDA of transgenic lines indicated that overexpression of VvABF2 in Arabidopsis significantly increased ROS scavenging ability and thereby reduced the cell membrane damage, which might be ABA-independent. Our results provide evidence that VvABF2 has a similar function to the Arabidopsis homolog in response to osmotic stresses, and that there is a similar ancestral function of this gene in ABA-dependent response to stresses in grapevine.