Genetic interactions between ABA signalling and the Arg/N-end rule pathway during Arabidopsis seedling establishment.

The Arg/N-end rule pathway of ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis has multiple functions throughout plant development, notably in the transition from dormant seed to photoautotrophic seedling. PROTEOLYSIS6 (PRT6), an N-recognin E3 ligase of the Arg/N-end rule regulates the degradation of transcription factor substrates belonging to Group VII of the Ethylene Response Factor superfamily (ERFVIIs). It is not known whether ERFVIIs are associated with all known functions of the Arg/N-end rule, and the downstream pathways influenced by ERFVIIs are not fully defined. Here, we examined the relationship between PRT6 function, ERFVIIs and ABA signalling in Arabidopsis seedling establishment. Physiological analysis of seedlings revealed that N-end rule-regulated stabilisation of three of the five ERFVIIs, RAP2.12, RAP2.2 and RAP2.3, controls sugar sensitivity of seedling establishment and oil body breakdown following germination. ABA signalling components ABA INSENSITIVE (ABI)4 as well as ABI3 and ABI5 were found to enhance ABA sensitivity of germination and sugar sensitivity of establishment in a background containing stabilised ERFVIIs. However, N-end rule regulation of oil bodies was not dependent on canonical ABA signalling. We propose that the N-end rule serves to control multiple aspects of the seed to seedling transition by regulation of ERFVII activity, involving both ABA-dependent and independent signalling pathways.

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