Histone modification is an important epigenetic regulation in higher plants adapting to environment changes including salt and drought stresses. In this report, we show that the Arabidopsis RPD3-type histone deacetylase HDA9 is involved in modulating plant responses to salt and drought stresses in Arabidopsis. Loss-of-function mutants of the gene displayed phenotypes (such as seedling root growth and seed germination) insensitive to NaCl and polyethylene glycol (PEG) treatments. HDA9 mutation led to up-regulation of many genes, among which those involved in response to water deprivation stress (GO: 0009414) were enriched. These genes were much more induced in the mutants than wild-type plants when treated with PEG and NaCl. In addition, we found that in the mutants, salt and drought stresses led to much higher levels of histone H3K9 acetylation at promoters of 14 genes randomly selected from those that respond to water-deprivation stress than in wild-type plants. Our study suggested that HDA9 might be a novel chromatin protein that negatively regulates plant sensitivity to salt and drought stresses by regulating histone acetylation levels of a large number of stress-responsive genes in Arabidopsis.
Keywords: Drought stress; H3K9 acetylation; HDA9; epigenetic regulation; histone deacetylation; salt stress..
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