Differential Activation of the Wheat SnRK2 Family by Abiotic Stresses
Plant responses to stress occur via abscisic acid (ABA) dependent or independent pathways. Sucrose non-fermenting1-related protein kinase 2 (SnRK2) play a key role in plant stress signal transduction pathways. It is known that some SnRK2 members are positive regulators of ABA signal transduction through interaction with group A type 2C protein phosphatases (PP2Cs). Here, ten SnRK2s were isolated from wheat. Based on phylogenetic analysis using kinase domains or the C-terminus, the ten SnRK2s were divided into three subclasses. Expression pattern analysis revealed that all TaSnRK2s were involved in the responses to PEG, NaCl, and cold stress. TaSnRK2s in subclass III were strongly induced by ABA. Subclass II TaSnRK2s responded weakly to ABA, whereas TaSnRK2s in subclass I were not activated by ABA treatment. Motif scanning in the C-terminus indicated that motifs 4 and 5 in the C-terminus were unique to subclass III. We further demonstrate the physical and functional interaction between TaSnRK2s and a typical group A PP2C (TaABI1) using Y2H and BiFC assays. The results showed that TaABI1 interacted physically with subclass III TaSnRK2s, while having no interaction with subclass I and II TaSnRK2s. Together, these findings indicated that subclass III TaSnRK2s were involved in ABA regulated stress responses, whereas subclass I and II TaSnRK2s responded to various abiotic stressors in an ABA-independent manner.