In mammals, TUBBY-like proteins play an important role in maintenance and function of neuronal cells during postdifferentiation and development. We have identified a TUBBY-like protein gene family with 11 members in Arabidopsis, named AtTLP1-11 . Although seven of the AtTLP genes are located on chromosome I, no local tandem repeats or gene clusters are identified. Except for AtTLP4 , reverse transcription-PCR analysis indicates that all these genes are expressed in various organs in 6-week-old Arabidopsis. AtTLP1 , 2 , 3 , 6 , 7 , 9 , 10 , and 11 are expressed ubiquitously in all the organs tested, but the expression of AtTLP5 and 8 shows dramatic organ specificity. These 11 family members share 30% to 80% amino acid similarities across their conserved C-terminal tubby domains. Unlike the highly diverse N-terminal region of animal TUBBY-like proteins, all AtTLP members except AtTLP8 contain a conserved F-box domain (51–57 residues). The interaction between AtTLP9 and ASK1 (Arabidopsis Skp1-like 1) is confirmed via yeast ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae ) two-hybrid assays. Abscisic acid (ABA)-insensitive phenotypes are observed for two independent AtTLP9 mutant lines, whereas transgenic plants overexpressing AtTLP9 are hypersensitive to ABA. These results suggest that AtTLP9 may participate in the ABA signaling pathway.
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