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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

The Plastid-Localized AtFtsHi3 Pseudo-Protease of Arabidopsis thaliana Has an Impact on Plant Growth and Drought Tolerance

Mishra, Laxmi S.; Mishra, Sanatkumar; Caddell, Daniel F.; Coleman-Derr, Devin; Funk, Christiane


While drought severely affects plant growth and crop production, the molecular mechanisms of the drought response of plants remain unclear. In this study, we demonstrated for the first time the effect of the pseudo-protease AtFtsHi3 of Arabidopsis thaliana on overall plant growth and in drought tolerance. An AtFTSHi3 knock-down mutant [ftshi3-1(kd)] displayed a pale-green phenotype with lower photosynthetic efficiency and Darwinian fitness compared to wild type (Wt). An observed delay in seed germination of ftshi3-1(kd) was attributed to overaccumulation of abscisic acid (ABA); ftshi3-1(kd) seedlings showed partial sensitivity to exogenous ABA. Being exposed to similar severity of soil drying, ftshi3-1(kd) was drought-tolerant up to 20 days after the last irrigation, while wild type plants wilted after 12 days. Leaves of ftshi3-1(kd) contained reduced stomata size, density, and a smaller stomatic aperture. During drought stress, ftshi3-1(kd) showed lowered stomatal conductance, increased intrinsic water-use efficiency (WUEi), and slower stress acclimation. Expression levels of ABA-responsive genes were higher in leaves of ftshi3-1(kd) than Wt; DREB1A, but not DREB2A, was significantly upregulated during drought. However, although ftshi3-1(kd) displayed a drought-tolerant phenotype in aboveground tissue, the root-associated bacterial community responded to drought.


drought; filamentation temperature-sensitive H protease; root microbiome; abscisic acid; Arabidopis thaliana; chloroplast

Published in

Frontiers in Plant Science
2021, volume: 12, article number: 694727

Authors' information

Mishra, Laxmi S.
Umea University
Mishra, Sanatkumar
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology
Caddell, Daniel F.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Coleman-Derr, Devin
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Coleman-Derr, Devin
University of California Berkeley
Funk, Christiane
Umea University

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