Recognizing Plant Cell authors: Yasuhito Sakuraba

Yasuhito Sakuraba, first author of Multilayered regulation of membrane-bound ONAC054 is essential for abscisic acid-induced leaf senescence in rice

Current Position: Professor (Assistant), Biotechnology Research Center, The University of Tokyo, Japan

Education: Ph.D. in Life Science, Hokkaido University, Japan

Non-scientific Interests: marathon, photography

Brief bio: I am interested in how plant leaves become yellow during senescence phase. Thus, during last decade, I mainly focused on the gene regulatory networks of leaf senescence, and we have identified a number of factors involved in the regulation of leaf senescence in Arabidopsis and rice. In the current paper, we show that the rice membrane-bound NAM/ATAF1/2/CUC2 (NAC) transcription factor ONAC054 plays an important role in ABA-induced leaf senescence. ONAC054 harbors C-terminal transmemberane domain (TMD) and localized in the endoplasmic reticulum in the absence of ABA. In the presence of ABA, however, C-terminal TMD of ONAC054 was cleaved and ONAC054 was imported into the nucleus to activate downstream genes. Furthermore, the alternatively spliced form of ONAC054 lacks the TMD and thus localizes to the nucleus even in the absence of ABA. The significance of multilayered regulation of ONAC054 for ABA-induced leaf senescence in rice is discussed in the paper.