J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2022, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (12): 2361-2373.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13394

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The RNA N6-methyladenosine demethylase ALKBH9B modulates ABA responses in Arabidopsis

Jun Tang1†, Junbo Yang1†, Qiang Lu1, Qian Tang1, Shuyan Chen1 and Guifang Jia1,2*   

  1. 1 Synthetic and Functional Biomolecules Center, Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Key Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Ministry of Education, Department of Chemical Biology, College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2 Peking‐Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Beijing 100871, China

    These authors contributed equally to this work.
    * Correspondence: Guifang Jia (guifangjia@pku.edu.cn)
  • Received:2022-08-03 Accepted:2022-10-19 Online:2022-10-20 Published:2022-12-01


The mRNA modification N6-methyladenosine (m6A) plays vital roles in plant development and biotic and abiotic stress responses. The RNA m6A demethylase ALKBH9B can remove m6A in alfalfa mosaic virus RNA and plays roles in alfalfa mosaic virus infection in Arabidopsis. However, it is unknown whether ALKBH9B also exhibits demethylation activity and has a biological role in endogenous plant mRNA. We demonstrated here that mRNA m6A modification is induced by the phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) and that ALKBH9B has m6A demethylation activity on endogenous mRNA. Knocking out ALKBH9B led to hypersensitivity to ABA treatment during seed germination and early seedling development. We further showed that ALKBH9B removes the m6A modification in the ABA INSENSITIVE 1 (ABI1) and BRI1-EMS-SUPPRESSOR 1 (BES1) transcripts following ABA treatment, affecting the stability of these mRNAs. Furthermore, we determined that ALKBH9B acts genetically upstream of the transcription factors ABI3 and ABI5, and its regulatory function in ABA responses depended on ABI3 and ABI5. Our findings reveal the important roles of the m6A modification in ABA responses and highlight the role of ALKBH9B-mediated m6A demethylation in regulating ABA responses post-transcriptionally.

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