Abiotic stresses, including drought and salinity, trigger a complex osmotic-stress and abscisic acid (ABA) signal transduction network. The core ABA signalling components are snf1-related protein kinase2s (SnRK2s), which are activated by ABA-triggered inhibition of type-2C protein-phosphatases (PP2Cs). SnRK2 kinases are also activated by a rapid, largely unknown, ABA-independent osmotic-stress signalling pathway. Here, through a combination of a redundancy-circumventing genetic screen and biochemical analyses, we have identified functionally-redundant MAPKK-kinases (M3Ks) that are necessary for activation of SnRK2 kinases. These M3Ks phosphorylate a specific SnRK2/OST1 site, which is indispensable for ABA-induced reactivation of PP2C-dephosphorylated SnRK2 kinases. ABA-triggered SnRK2 activation, transcription factor phosphorylation and SLAC1 activation require these M3Ks in vitro and in plants. M3K triple knock-out plants show reduced ABA sensitivity and strongly impaired rapid osmotic-stress-induced SnRK2 activation. These findings demonstrate that this M3K clade is required for ABA- and osmotic-stress-activation of SnRK2 kinases, enabling robust ABA and osmotic stress signal transduction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)