Integration of abscisic acid signalling into plant responses

Plant Biol (Stuttg). 2006 May;8(3):314-25. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-924120.


The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays a major role as an endogenous messenger in the regulation of plant's water status. ABA is generated as a signal during a plant's life cycle to control seed germination and further developmental processes and in response to abiotic stress imposed by salt, cold, drought, and wounding. The action of ABA can target specifically guard cells for induction of stomatal closure but may also signal systemically for adjustment towards severe water shortage. At the molecular level, the responses are primarily mediated by regulation of ion channels and by changes in gene expression. In the last years, the molecular complexity of ABA signal transduction surfaced more and more. Many proteins and a plethora of "secondary" messengers that regulate or modulate ABA-responses have been identified by analysis of mutants including gene knock-out plants and by applying RNA interference technology together with protein interaction analysis. The complexity possibly reflects intensive cross-talk with other signal pathways and the role of ABA to be part of and to integrate several responses. Despite the missing unifying concept, it is becoming clear that ABA action enforces a sophisticated regulation at all levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / biosynthesis
  • Abscisic Acid / metabolism
  • Abscisic Acid / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Plant Growth Regulators / biosynthesis
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plant Growth Regulators / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Water / physiology


  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Water
  • Abscisic Acid