Drought is a major threat to agricultural production. Plants synthesize the hormone abscisic acid (ABA) in response to drought, triggering a signalling cascade in guard cells that results in stomatal closure, thus reducing water loss. ABA triggers an increase in cytosolic calcium in guard cells ([Ca2+](cyt)) that has been proposed to include Ca2+ influx across the plasma membrane. However, direct recordings of Ca2+ currents have been limited and the upstream activation mechanisms of plasma membrane Ca2+ channels remain unknown. Here we report activation of Ca2+-permeable channels in the plasma membrane of Arabidopsis guard cells by hydrogen peroxide. The H2O2-activated Ca2+ channels mediate both influx of Ca2+ in protoplasts and increases in [Ca2+](cyt) in intact guard cells. ABA induces the production of H2O2 in guard cells. If H2O2 production is blocked, ABA-induced closure of stomata is inhibited. Moreover, activation of Ca2+ channels by H2O2 and ABA- and H2O2-induced stomatal closing are disrupted in the recessive ABA-insensitive mutant gca2. These data indicate that ABA-induced H2O2 production and the H2O2-activated Ca2+ channels are important mechanisms for ABA-induced stomatal closing.
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