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PKL is stabilized by MMS21 to negatively regulate Arabidopsis drought tolerance through directly repressing AFL1 transcription

Jing Yexing; Yang Ziyi; Yang Ruizhen; Zhang Yunwei; Qiao Weihua; Zhou Yun; Sun Jiaqiang

New Phytologist, 2023, IF 9.40



circle Drought stress causes substantial losses in crop production per year worldwide, threatening global food security. Identification of the genetic components underlying drought tolerance in plants is of great importance. In this study, we report that loss-of-function of the chromatinremodeling factor PICKLE (PKL), which is involved in repression of transcription, enhances drought tolerance of Arabidopsis. circle At first, we find that PKL interacts with ABI5 to regulate seed germination, but PKL regulates drought tolerance independently of ABI5. Then, we find that PKL is necessary for repressing the drought-tolerant gene AFL1, which is responsible for the drought-tolerant phenotype of pkl mutant. Genetic complementation tests demonstrate that the Chromo domain and ATPase domain but not the PHD domain are required for the function of PKL in regulating drought tolerance. Interestingly, we find that the DNA-binding domain (DBD) is essential for the protein stability of PKL. circle Furthermore, we demonstrate that the SUMO E3 ligase MMS21 interacts with and enhances the protein stability of PKL. Genetic interaction analysis shows that MMS21 and PKL additively regulate plant drought tolerance. circle Collectively, our findings uncover a MMS21-PKL-AFL1 module in regulating plant drought tolerance and offer insights into a novel strategy to improve crop drought tolerance.