SnRK2 protein kinases and mRNA decapping machinery control root development and response to salt

Dorota Kawa, A.J. Meyer, Henk L. Dekker, Ahmed Abd-El-Haliem, Kris Gevaert, Eveline Van De Slijke, Justyna Maszkowska, Maria Bucholc, Grazyna Dobrowolska, Geert de Jaeger, Robert C. Schuurink, Michel A. Haring, Christa Testerink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


SNF1-RELATED PROTEIN KINASES 2 (SnRK2) are important components of early osmotic and salt stress signaling pathways in plants. The Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) SnRK2 family comprises the abscisic acid (ABA)-activated protein kinases SnRK2.2, SnRK2.3, SnRK2.6, SnRK2.7, and SnRK2.8, and the ABA-independent subclass 1 protein kinases SnRK2.1, SnRK2.4, SnRK2.5, SnRK2.9, and SnRK2.10. ABA-independent SnRK2s act at the post-transcriptional level via phosphorylation of VARICOSE (VCS), a member of the mRNA decapping complex, that catalyzes the first step of 5'mRNA decay. Here, we identified VCS and VARICOSE RELATED (VCR) as interactors and phosphorylation targets of SnRK2.5, SnRK2.6, and SnRK2.10. All three protein kinases phosphorylated Ser645 and Ser1156 of VCS, while SnRK2.6 and SnRK2.10 also phosphorylated VCS Ser692 and Ser680 of VCR. We showed that subclass 1 SnRK2s, VCS, and 5' EXORIBONUCLEASE 4 (XRN4) are involved in regulating root growth under control conditions as well as modulating root system architecture in response to salt stress. Our results suggest interesting patterns of redundancy within subclass 1 SnRK2 protein kinases, with SnRK2.1, SnRK2.5 and SnRK2.9 controlling root growth under non-stress conditions and SnRK2.4 and SnRK2.10 acting mostly in response to salinity. We propose that subclass 1 SnRK2s function in root development under salt stress by affecting the transcript levels of aquaporins, as well as CYP79B2, an enzyme involved in auxin biosynthesis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


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