The ethylene response factor VII (ERF-VII) transcription factor RELATED TO APETALA2.12 (RAP2.12) was previously identified as an activator of the ALCOHOL DEHYDROGENASE1 promoter::luciferase (ADH1-LUC) reporter gene. Here we show that overexpression of RAP2.12 and its homologues RAP2.2 and RAP2.3 sustains ABA-mediated activation of ADH1 and activates hypoxia marker genes under both anoxic and normoxic conditions. Inducible expression of all three RAP2s conferred tolerance to anoxia, oxidative and osmotic stresses, and enhanced the sensitivity to abscisic acid (ABA). Consistently, the rap2.12-2 rap2.3-1 double mutant showed hypersensitivity to both submergence and osmotic stress. These findings suggest that the three ERF-VII-type transcription factors play roles in tolerance to multiple stresses that sequentially occur during and after submergence in Arabidopsis. Oxygen-dependent degradation of RAP2.12 was previously shown to be mediated by the N-end rule pathway. During submergence the RAP2.12, RAP2.2 and RAP2.3 are stabilized and accumulates in the nucleus affecting the transcription of stress response genes. We conclude that the stabilized RAP2 transcription factors can prolong the ABA-mediated activation of a subset of osmotic responsive genes (e.g. ADH1). We also show that RAP2.12 protein level is affected by the REALLY INTERESTING GENE (RING) domain containing SEVEN IN ABSENTIA of Arabidopsis thaliana 2 (SINAT2). Silencing of SINAT1/2 genes leads to enhanced RAP2.12 abundance independently of the presence or absence of its N-terminal degron. Taken together, our results suggest that RAP2.12 and its homologues RAP2.2 and RAP2.3 act redundantly in multiple stress responses. Alternative protein degradation pathways may provide inputs to the RAP2 transcription factors for the distinct stresses.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; RAP2; SINAT; anoxia; ethylene response factor; luciferase reporter; osmotic and oxidative stress.
© 2015 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.