Newswise — Leaf senescence is a vital phase in the life cycle of plants, impacting overall plant health and yield. Abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone that accelerates leaf senescence in response to environmental stress. However, the precise regulatory mechanisms of ABA-triggered leaf senescence are not fully understood. Due to these challenges, there is a need for in-depth research to explore the molecular pathways involved.

Researchers from Shandong Agricultural University and Yantai Academy of Agricultural Sciences conducted a study (DOI: 10.1093/hr/uhae029) published on January 30, 2024, in Horticulture Research, investigating the role of MdPUB23, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, in ABA-induced leaf senescence in apple plants. The findings revealed that MdPUB23 interacts with the ABI5 protein, promoting its degradation and thereby delaying the senescence process.

The study examined the interaction between MdPUB23 and ABI5, a key regulatory protein in the ABA signaling pathway. Through experiments including yeast two-hybrid assays, pull-down assays, and bimolecular fluorescence complementation, researchers demonstrated that MdPUB23 physically interacts with ABI5. Further analysis showed that MdPUB23 facilitates the ubiquitin-dependent degradation of ABI5, crucial for delaying ABA-triggered leaf senescence. Additionally, they observed that the expression of MdPUB23 decreases during leaf senescence and under ABA treatment, suggesting a feedback regulation mechanism. These insights into the MdPUB23-ABI5 interaction provide a new understanding of the molecular control of leaf senescence.

Dr. Jian-Ping An, a leading researcher in plant molecular biology, stated, "This discovery highlights the intricate regulatory mechanisms plants employ to balance growth and stress responses. By understanding how MdPUB23 modulates ABI5 stability, we can develop strategies to improve crop resilience and productivity."

The findings from this study have significant implications for agricultural practices. By manipulating the expression of MdPUB23, it may be possible to extend the lifespan of leaves, enhancing photosynthetic efficiency and crop yield. Additionally, this research opens new avenues for developing stress-resistant plant varieties, contributing to sustainable agriculture and food security in the face of changing climate conditions.





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Funding information

This work was financially supported by grants from the Natural Science Foundation of China (32372642), the Development Plan of the Youth Innovation Team of the Higher Education Institutions in Shandong Province (2022KJ326), and Wuhan Botanical Garden Scientific Research Support Project (E3559901).

About Horticulture Research

Horticulture Research is an open access journal of Nanjing Agricultural University and ranked number one in the Horticulture category of the Journal Citation Reports ™ from Clarivate, 2022. The journal is committed to publishing original research articles, reviews, perspectives, comments, correspondence articles and letters to the editor related to all major horticultural plants and disciplines, including biotechnology, breeding, cellular and molecular biology, evolution, genetics, inter-species interactions, physiology, and the origination and domestication of crops.

Journal Link: Horticulture Research