Selective Inhibition of Clade A Phosphatases Type 2C by PYR/PYL/RCAR Abscisic Acid Receptors

Clade A protein phosphatases type 2C (PP2Cs) are negative regulators of abscisic acid (ABA) signaling that are inhibited in an ABA-dependent manner by PYRABACTIN RESISTANCE1 (PYR1)/PYR1-LIKE (PYL)/REGULATORY COMPONENTS OF ABA RECEPTORS (RCAR) intracellular receptors. We provide genetic evidence that a previously uncharacterized member of this PP2C family in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), At5g59220, is a negative regulator of osmotic stress and ABA signaling and that this function was only apparent when double loss-of-function mutants with pp2ca-1/ahg3 were generated. At5g59220-green fluorescent protein and its close relative PP2CA-green fluorescent protein showed a predominant nuclear localization; however, hemagglutinin-tagged versions were also localized to cytosol and microsomal pellets. At5g59220 was selectively inhibited by some PYR/PYL ABA receptors, and close relatives of this PP2C, such as PP2CA/ABA-HYPERSENSITIVE GERMINATION3 (AHG3) and AHG1, showed a contrasting sensitivity to PYR/PYL inhibition. Interestingly, AHG1 was resistant to inhibition by the PYR/PYL receptors tested, which suggests that this seed-specific phosphatase is still able to regulate ABA signaling in the presence of ABA and PYR/PYL receptors and therefore to control the highly active ABA signaling pathway that operates during seed development. Moreover, the differential sensitivity of the phosphatases At5g59220 and PP2CA to inhibition by ABA receptors reveals a functional specialization of PYR/PYL ABA receptors to preferentially inhibit certain PP2Cs.