The role of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (Ins(1,4,5)P 3 ) in transducing the abscisic acid (ABA) signal during seed germination and in the stress responses of mature plants is poorly understood. We have considered the contributions of the phospholipase C1 (encoded by AtPLC1 ) and an Ins(1,4,5)P 3 5-phosphatase (encoded by AtIP5PII ) to ABA signaling by using a modified version of the glucocorticoid-inducible system to regulate transgene expression. In the presence of the dexamethasone (Dex) inducer, transgenic lines expressing the AtPLC1 antisense and AtIP5PII sense transgenes showed no inhibition of germination and growth by ABA, whereas in the absence of the inducer they were sensitive. In the presence of Dex, these lines accumulated lower Ins(1,4,5)P 3 levels upon ABA treatment compared with that of the control transgenic lines. RNA gel blot analysis revealed a decrease in the induction of the ABA-responsive genes RD29a , KIN2 , and RD22 but not COR4 7 in the Dex-induced transgenic plants. In transgenic lines expressing the inducible AtPLC1 sense transgene, an increase in AtPLC1 expression was not sufficient to activate the expression of ABA-responsive genes in vegetative tissues. In vitro experiments demonstrated the induced PLC1 expression when extracts were assayed in the presence of calcium, but no increase in Ins(1,4,5)P 3 levels in vivo was detected, suggesting that the PLC1 enzyme was latent. Our results indicate that although an increase in PLC1 activity and increased Ins(1,4,5)P 3 levels are necessary for maximal gene induction by ABA, overexpression of AtPLC1 itself is not sufficient to trigger the expression of ABA-responsive genes. We propose that AtPLC1 plays a role in secondary ABA responses.
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