Author: Wenming Zhao, Chunmei Guan, Jian Feng, Yan Liang, Ni Zhan, Jianru Zuo, and Bo Ren
In Arabidopsis, the phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays a vital role in inhibiting seed germination and in post-germination seedling establishment. In the ABA signaling pathway, ABI5, a basic Leu zipper transcription factor, has important functions in the regulation of seed germination. ABI5 protein localizes in nuclear bodies, along with AFP, COP1, and SIZ1, and was degraded through the 26S proteasome pathway. However, the mechanisms of ABI5 nuclear body formation and ABI5 protein degradation remain obscure. In this study, we found that the Arabidopsis CROWDED NUCLEI (CRWN) proteins, predicted nuclear matrix proteins essential for maintenance of nuclear morphology, also participate in ABA-controlled seed germination by regulating the degradation of ABI5 protein. During seed germination, the crwn mutants are hypersensitive to ABA and have higher levels of ABI5 protein compared to wild type. Genetic analysis suggested that CRWNs act upstream of ABI5. The observation that CRWN3 colocalizes with ABI5 in nuclear bodies indicates that CRWNs might participate in ABI5 protein degradation in nuclear bodies. Moreover, we revealed that the extreme C-terminal of CRWN3 protein is necessary for its function in the response to ABA in germination. Our results suggested important roles of CRWNs in ABI5 nuclear body organization and ABI5 protein degradation during seed germination.