Phosphatidic acid (PA) is an important signal molecule in various biological processes including osmotic stress. Lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase (LPAT) acylates the sn-2 position of the glycerol backbone of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) to produce PA. The role of LPAT2 and its PA in osmotic stress response remains elusive in plants. Here we showed that LPAT2-derived PA is important for salt and drought stress tolerance in rice. Rice LPAT2 was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to catalyze the PA synthesis. The LPAT2 transcript was induced by osmotic stress such as high salinity and water deficit. To reveal its role in osmotic stress response, an LPAT2 knockdown mutant, designated lpat2, was isolated from rice, which contained a reduced PA level relative to wild type (WT) plants under salt stress and water deficit. The lpat2 mutant was more susceptible to osmotic stress and less sensitive to abscisic acid (ABA) than that of WT, which was recovered by either PA supplementation or genetic LPAT2 complementation. Moreover, suppressed LPAT2 also led to a large number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) involved in diverse processes, particularly, in ABA response, kinase signaling, and ion homeostasis in response to salt stress. Together, LPAT2-produced PA plays a positive role in osmotic tolerance through mediating ABA response, which leads to transcriptional alteration of genes related to ABA response, protein kinase signaling, and ion homeostasis.
Keywords: abscisic acid response; lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase; osmotic stress; phosphatidic acid; rice (Oryza sativa).