Plants maintain a dynamic balance between plant growth and stress tolerance to optimise their fitness and ensure survival. Here, we investigated the roles of a clade A type 2C protein phosphatase (PP2C)-encoding gene, OsPP2C09, in regulating the trade-off between plant growth and drought tolerance in rice (Oryza sativa L.). The OsPP2C09 protein interacted with the core components of abscisic acid (ABA) signalling and showed PP2C phosphatase activity in vitro. OsPP2C09 positively affected plant growth but acted as a negative regulator of drought tolerance through ABA signalling. Transcript and protein levels of OsPP2C09 were rapidly induced by exogenous ABA treatments, which suppressed excessive ABA signalling and plant growth arrest. OsPP2C09 transcript levels in roots were much higher than those in shoots under normal conditions. After ABA, polyethylene glycol and dehydration treatments, the accumulation rate of OsPP2C09 transcripts in roots was more rapid and greater than that in shoots. This differential expression between the roots and shoots may increase the plant's root-to-shoot ratio under drought-stress conditions. This study sheds new light on the roles of OsPP2C09 in coordinating plant growth and drought tolerance. In particular, we propose that OsPP2C09-mediated ABA desensitisation contributes to root elongation under drought-stress conditions in rice.
Keywords: abscisic acid signalling; drought tolerance; plant growth; rice (Oryza sativa L.); type 2C protein phosphatase.
© 2020 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2020 New Phytologist Trust.