Molecular Targets and Biological Functions of cAMP Signaling in Arabidopsis

Biomolecules. 2021 May 3;11(5):688. doi: 10.3390/biom11050688.


Cyclic AMP (cAMP) is a pivotal signaling molecule existing in almost all living organisms. However, the mechanism of cAMP signaling in plants remains very poorly understood. Here, we employ the engineered activity of soluble adenylate cyclase to induce cellular cAMP elevation in Arabidopsis thaliana plants and identify 427 cAMP-responsive genes (CRGs) through RNA-seq analysis. Induction of cellular cAMP elevation inhibits seed germination, disturbs phytohormone contents, promotes leaf senescence, impairs ethylene response, and compromises salt stress tolerance and pathogen resistance. A set of 62 transcription factors are among the CRGs, supporting a prominent role of cAMP in transcriptional regulation. The CRGs are significantly overrepresented in the pathways of plant hormone signal transduction, MAPK signaling, and diterpenoid biosynthesis, but they are also implicated in lipid, sugar, K+, nitrate signaling, and beyond. Our results provide a basic framework of cAMP signaling for the community to explore. The regulatory roles of cAMP signaling in plant plasticity are discussed.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; adenylate cyclase; cyclic AMP; function; mechanism; regulation; signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Germination
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / growth & development
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Potassium Channels / genetics*
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • KUP7 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Potassium Channels
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Cyclic AMP