Abscisic acid (ABA) regulates many agronomically important aspects of plant development, including the synthesis of seed storage proteins and lipids, the promotion of seed desiccation tolerance and dormancy, and the inhibition of the phase transitions from embryonic to germinative growth and from vegetative to reproductive growth (reviewed by Leung and Giraudat, 1998 ; Rock, 2000 ; Rohde et al., 2000b ). In addition, ABA mediates some aspects of physiological responses to environmental stresses such as drought- or osmotica-induced stomatal closure, the induction of tolerance of water, salt, hypoxic, and cold stress, and wound or pathogen response (Leung and Giraudat, 1998 ; Rock, 2000 ; Shinozaki and Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, 2000 ). A traditional distinction among these responses has been that of speed: the stomatal responses are relatively fast, occurring within minutes and involving changes in the activity of various signaling molecules and ion channels, whereas the rest are slower and require changes in gene expression. However, these sets of responses clearly require the action of common signaling elements, because several individual mutants (e.g., the Arabidopsis ABA-insensitive abi1 and abi2 mutants and the ABA-hypersensitive era1 mutant) affect subsets of both types of responses. Furthermore, cell biological studies have implicated common classes
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