Cyclic GMP (cGMP) is an important regulator in eukaryotes, and cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) plays a key role in perceiving cellular cGMP in diverse physiological processes in animals. However, the molecular identity, property, and function of PKG in plants remain elusive. In this study, we have identified PKG from plants and characterized its role in mediating the gibberellin (GA) response in rice (Oryza sativa). PKGs from plants are structurally unique with an additional type 2C protein phosphatase domain. Rice PKG possesses both protein kinase and phosphatase activities, and cGMP stimulates its kinase activity but inhibits its phosphatase activity. One of PKG's targets is GAMYB, a transcription factor in GA signaling, and the dual activities of PKG catalyze the reversible phosphorylation of GAMYB at Ser6 and modulate the nucleocytoplasmic distribution of GAMYB in response to GA. Loss of PKG impeded the nuclear localization of GAMYB and abolished GAMYB function in the GA response, leading to defects in GA-induced seed germination, internode elongation, and pollen viability. In addition to GAMYB, PKG has multiple potential targets and thus has broad effects, particularly in the salt stress response.
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