EGR2 phosphatase regulates OST1 kinase activity and freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis

EMBO J. 2019 Jan 3;38(1):e99819. doi: 10.15252/embj.201899819. Epub 2018 Nov 14.


OST1 (open stomata 1) protein kinase plays a central role in regulating freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis; however, the mechanism underlying cold activation of OST1 remains unknown. Here, we report that a plasma membrane-localized clade-E growth-regulating 2 (EGR2) phosphatase interacts with OST1 and inhibits OST1 activity under normal conditions. EGR2 is N-myristoylated by N-myristoyltransferase NMT1 at 22°C, which is important for its interaction with OST1. Moreover, myristoylation of EGR2 is required for its function in plant freezing tolerance. Under cold stress, the interaction of EGR2 and NMT1 is attenuated, leading to the suppression of EGR2 myristoylation in plants. Plant newly synthesized unmyristoylated EGR2 has decreased binding ability to OST1 and also interferes with the EGR2-OST1 interaction under cold stress. Consequently, the EGR2-mediated inhibition of OST1 activity is released. Consistently, mutations of EGRs cause plant tolerance to freezing, whereas overexpression of EGR2 exhibits decreased freezing tolerance. This study thus unravels a molecular mechanism underlying cold activation of OST1 by membrane-localized EGR2 and suggests that a myristoyl switch on EGR2 helps plants to adapt to cold stress.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; EGR2 phosphatase; OST1 kinase; freezing tolerance; myristoylation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis* / enzymology
  • Arabidopsis* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis* / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cold Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Cold-Shock Response / genetics
  • Cold-Shock Response / physiology
  • Enzyme Activation / genetics
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / metabolism
  • Freezing
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein Phosphatase 2C / physiology*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / genetics
  • Signal Transduction


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Protein Kinases
  • OST1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • EGR2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Protein Phosphatase 2C
  • 9-tetradecenoic acid