Junya Mizoi, Natsumi Kanazawa, Satoshi Kidokoro, Fuminori Takahashi, Feng Qin, Kyoko Morimoto1, Kazuo Shinozaki, Kazuko Yamaguchi-Shinozaki*


Plants have evolved complex systems to rapidly respond to severe stress conditions, such as heat, cold, and dehydration. DEHYDRATION-RESPONSIVE ELEMENT-BINDING PROTEIN 2A (DREB2A) is a key transcriptional activator that induces many heat- and drought-responsive genes, increases tolerance to both heat and drought stress, and suppresses plant growth in Arabidopsis thaliana. DREB2A expression is induced by stress, but stabilization of the DREB2A protein in response to stress is essential for activating the expression of downstream stress-inducible genes. Under non-stress growth conditions, an integral negative regulatory domain (NRD) destabilizes DREB2A, but the mechanism by which DREB2A is stabilized in response to stress remains unclear. Here, based on bioinformatics, mutational, MS, and biochemical analyses, we report that Ser/Thr residues in the NRD are phosphorylated under non-stress growth conditions and that their phosphorylation decreases in response to heat. Furthermore, we found that this phosphorylation is likely mediated by casein kinase 1 and is essential for the NRD-dependent, proteasomal degradation of DREB2A under non-stress conditions. These observations suggest that inhibition of NRD phosphorylation stabilizes and activates DREB2A in response to heat stress to enhance plant thermotolerance. Our study reveals the molecular basis for the coordination of stress tolerance and plant growth through stress-dependent transcriptional regulation, which may allow the plants to rapidly respond to fluctuating environmental conditions.

Paper Information

: Journal of Biological Chemistry
: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.002662