Dynamic control of plant water use using designed ABA receptor agonists (Science)

ABA is synthesized in response to water stress and promotes stomatal closure, thus decreasing transpiration. Crop yields can be increased by controlling transpiration early in the growing season, ensuring that soil water resources persist through the seed-set period. Building upon earlier studies, Vaidya, Helander et al. have identified a synthetic ABA agonist that binds tightly to ABA receptors to promote stomatal closure. Using structure-guided optimization drawing on crystal structures, they identified potential improvements, leading to the development of opabactin, which has a more sustained antitranspirant effect than ABA. (Summary by Mary Williams) Science 10.1126/science.aaw8848