Review

Abscisic acid perception and signaling: structural mechanisms and applications

Authors: Ley Moy Ng, Karsten Melcher, Bin Tean Teh, H Eric Xu
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2014.5

Abstract

Ley Moy NG1, *, Karsten MELCHER2, Bin Tean TEH1, 3, 4, H Eric XU2, 5
1Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117599, Singapore; 2Laboratory of Structural Sciences, Center for Structural Biology and Drug Discovery, Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, USA; 3Laboratory of Cancer Epigenome, Division of Medical Sciences, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Singapore; 4Division of Cancer and Stem Cell Biology, Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, Singapore; 5VARI-SIMM Center, Center for Structure and Function of Drug Targets, Key Laboratory of Receptor Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China


Adverse environmental conditions are a threat to agricultural yield and therefore exert a global effect on livelihood, health and the economy. Abscisic acid (ABA) is a vital plant hormone that regulates abiotic stress tolerance, thereby allowing plants to cope with environmental stresses. Previously, attempts to develop a complete understanding of the mechanisms underlying ABA signaling have been hindered by difficulties in the identification of bona fide ABA receptors. The discovery of the PYR/PYL/RCAR family of ABA receptors therefore represented a major milestone in the effort to overcome these roadblocks; since then, many structural and functional studies have provided detailed insights into processes ranging from ABA perception to the activation of ABA-responsive gene transcription. This understanding of the mechanisms of ABA perception and signaling has served as the basis for recent, preliminary developments in the genetic engineering of stress-resistant crops as well as in the design of new synthetic ABA agonists, which hold great promise for the agricultural enhancement of stress tolerance.

Keywords: abscisic acid; abiotic stress; ABA receptor; plant hormone

This work was supported in part by an internal grant from Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, Mexico and Proteo/Muuu-Technologies de México.
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
E-mail csinlml@nus.edu.sg
Received 2013-12-23 Accepted 2014-01-16
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