Dolichols are long-chain unsaturated polyisoprenoids with multiple cellular functions, such as serving as lipid carriers of sugars used for protein glycosylation, which affects protein trafficking in the endoplasmic reticulum. The biological functions of dolichols in plants are largely unknown. We isolated an Arabidopsis thaliana mutant, lew1 (for leaf wilting1 ), that showed a leaf-wilting phenotype under normal growth conditions. LEW1 encoded a cis -prenyltransferase, which when expressed in Escherichia coli catalyzed the formation of dolichol with a chain length around C 80 in an in vitro assay. The lew1 mutation reduced the total plant content of main dolichols by ∼85% and caused protein glycosylation defects. The mutation also impaired plasma membrane integrity, causing electrolyte leakage, lower turgor, reduced stomatal conductance, and increased drought resistance. Interestingly, drought stress in the lew1 mutant induced higher expression of the unfolded protein response pathway genes BINDING PROTEIN and BASIC DOMAIN/LEUCINE ZIPPER60 as well as earlier expression of the stress-responsive genes RD29A and COR47 . The lew1 mutant was more sensitive to dark treatment, but this dark sensitivity was suppressed by drought treatment. Our data suggest that LEW1 catalyzes dolichol biosynthesis and that dolichol is important for plant responses to endoplasmic reticulum stress, drought, and dark-induced senescence in Arabidopsis .
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