The Arabidopsis Phytocystatin AtCYS5 Enhances Seed Germination and Seedling Growth under Heat Stress Conditions

  • Song, Chieun (Systems and Synthetic Agrobiotech Center and PMBBRC, Gyeongsang National University) ;
  • Kim, Taeyoon (Systems and Synthetic Agrobiotech Center and PMBBRC, Gyeongsang National University) ;
  • Chung, Woo Sik (Systems and Synthetic Agrobiotech Center and PMBBRC, Gyeongsang National University) ;
  • Lim, Chae Oh (Systems and Synthetic Agrobiotech Center and PMBBRC, Gyeongsang National University)
  • Received : 2017.05.12
  • Accepted : 2017.06.25
  • Published : 2017.08.31


Phytocystatins (PhyCYSs) are plant-specific proteinaceous inhibitors that are implicated in protein turnover and stress responses. Here, we characterized a PhyCYS from Arabidopsis thaliana, which was designated AtCYS5. RT-qPCR analysis showed that the expression of AtCYS5 in germinating seeds was induced by heat stress (HS) and exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) treatment. Analysis of the expression of the ${\beta}-glucuronidase$ reporter gene under the control of the AtCYS5 promoter showed that AtCYS5 expression during seed germination was induced by HS and ABA. Constitutive overexpression of AtCYS5 driven by the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter led to enhanced HS tolerance in transgenic Arabidopsis, which was characterized by higher fresh weight and root length compared to wild-type (WT) and knockout (cys5) plants grown under HS conditions. The HS tolerance of AtCYS5-overexpressing transgenic plants was associated with increased insensitivity to exogenous ABA during both seed germination and post-germination compared to WT and cys5. Although no HS elements were identified in the 5'-flanking region of AtCYS5, canonical ABA-responsive elements (ABREs) were detected. AtCYS5 was upregulated in ABAtreated protoplasts transiently co-expressing this gene and genes encoding bZIP ABRE-binding factors (ABFs and AREB3). In the absence of ABA, ABF1 and ABF3 directly bound to the ABREs in the AtCYS5 promoter, which activated the transcription of this gene in the presence of ABA. These results suggest that an ABA-dependent pathway plays a positive role in the HS-responsive expression of AtCYS5 during seed germination and post-germination growth.


abscisic acid;cis-element;gene expression;transcription factor;transgenic plants


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)


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