The FBA motif-containing protein AFBA1 acts as a novel positive regulator of ABA response in Arabidopsis

Yun Young Kim, Mei Hua Cui, Min Soo Noh, Kwang Wook Jung, Jeong Sheop Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


ABA plays a critical role in regulating seed germination and stomatal movement in response to drought stress. Screening ABA-responsive genes led to the identification of a novel Arabidopsis gene encoding a protein which contained a conserved F-box-associated (FBA) domain, subsequently named ABA-responsive FBA domain-containing protein 1 (AFBA1). Expression of ProAFBA1:GUS revealed that this gene was mainly expressed in guard cells. Expression of AFBA1 increased following the application of exogenous ABA and exposure to salt (NaCl) and drought stresses. Seed germination of the loss-of-function mutant (afba1) was insensitive to ABA, salt or mannitol, whereas AFBA1-overexpressing (Ox) seeds were more sensitive to these stresses than the wildtype seeds. The afba1 plants showed decreased drought tolerance, increased water loss rate and ABA-insensitive stomatal movement compared with the wild-type. In contrast, AFBA1-Ox plants exhibited enhanced drought tolerance and a rapid ABA-induced stomatal closure response. The expression of genes encoding serine/threonine protein phosphatases that are known negative regulators of ABA signaling increased in afba1 plants but decreased in AFBA1-Ox plants. AFBA1 was also found to be localized in the nucleus and to interact with an R2R3-type transcription factor, MYB44, leading to the suggestion that it functions in the stabilization of MYB44. Based on these results, we suggest that AFBA1 functions as a novel positive regulator of ABA responses, regulating the expression of genes involved in ABA signal transduction in Arabidopsis through its interaction with positive regulators of ABA signaling including MYB44, and increasing their stability during ABA-mediated responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-586
Number of pages13
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 1


  • ABA response
  • Abiotic stress
  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Drought tolerance
  • FBA motif
  • Stomatal movement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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