Molecular plant

SKIP Confers Osmotic Tolerance during Salt Stress by Controlling Alternative Gene Splicing in Arabidopsis.

PMID 25617718


Deciphering the mechanisms underlying plant responses to abiotic stress is key for improving plant stress resistance. Much is known about the regulation of gene expression in response to salt stress at the transcriptional level; however, little is known about this process at the posttranscriptional level. Recently, we demonstrated that SKIP is a component of spliceosome that interacts with clock gene pre-mRNAs and is essential for regulating their alternative splicing and mRNA maturation. In this study, we found that skip-1 plants are hypersensitive to both salt and osmotic stresses, and that SKIP is required for the alternative splicing and mRNA maturation of several salt-tolerance genes, including NHX1, CBL1, P5CS1, RCI2A, and PAT10. A genome-wide analysis revealed that SKIP mediates the alternative splicing of many genes under salt-stress conditions, and that most of the alternative splicing events in skip-1 involve intron retention and can generate a premature termination codon in the transcribed mRNA. SKIP also controls alternative splicing by modulating the recognition or cleavage of 5' and 3' splice donor and acceptor sites under salt-stress conditions. Therefore, this study addresses the fundamental question of how the mRNA splicing machinery in plants contributes to salt-stress responses at the posttranscriptional level, and provides a link between alternative splicing and salt tolerance.