Numerous GAST-like genes have been identified in various plant species. All code for small proteins with a conserved C-terminal region in which 12 cysteines are located in exactly the same positions. We have previously identified five gibberellin (GA)-induced GAST1-like genes in petunia, GIP1-5. GIP2 is expressed in elongating zones, and its suppression in transgenic petunia plants inhibits stem elongation, suggesting a role for the protein in GA-induced cell growth. However, nothing is known about the biochemical activity of GIP2 or any other GAST-like protein. As all contain putative catalytic disulfide bonds (putative redox-active cysteines), we speculated that they might be involved in redox regulation. Expression analysis of GIP2, GIP4 and GIP5 revealed that they are induced by H2O2. To study whether GIP2 modulates H2O2 levels, we generated transgenic petunia plants expressing GIP2 under the regulation of the ubiquitous CaMV 35S promoter. The transgene reduced H2O2 levels in leaves following wounding. It also reduced the levels of H2O2 in guard cells following osmotic stress and ABA treatments, leading to the suppression of stomatal closure. In addition, the transgene promoted stem and corolla elongation. As reactive oxygen species (ROS) are involved in cell elongation, we suggest that GIP2 affects growth by regulating the levels of ROS. As all known GAST-like proteins contain putative redox-active cysteines, they may all act as antioxidants.
- Cell elongation
- Hydrogen peroxide