Indexed on: 29 May '15Published on: 29 May '15Published in: Journal of experimental botany
The tonoplast intrinsic proteins TIP3;1 and TIP3;2 are specifically expressed during seed maturation and localized to the seed protein storage vacuole membrane. However, the function and physiological roles of TIP3s are still largely unknown. The seed performance of TIP3 knockdown mutants was analysed using the controlled deterioration test. The tip3;1/tip3;2 double mutant was affected in seed longevity and accumulated high levels of hydrogen peroxide compared with the wild type, suggesting that TIP3s function in seed longevity. The transcription factor ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE 3 (ABI3) is known to be involved in seed desiccation tolerance and seed longevity. TIP3 transcript and protein levels were significantly reduced in abi3-6 mutant seeds. TIP3;1 and TIP3;2 promoters could be activated by ABI3 in the presence of abscisic acid (ABA) in Arabidopsis protoplasts. TIP3 proteins were detected in the protoplasts transiently expressing ABI3 and in ABI3-overexpressing seedlings when treated with ABA. Furthermore, ABI3 directly binds to the RY motif of the TIP3 promoters. Therefore, seed-specific TIP3s may help maintain seed longevity under the expressional control of ABI3 during seed maturation and are members of the ABI3-mediated seed longevity pathway together with small heat shock proteins and late embryo abundant proteins.