The identification of critical components in plant salt stress adaptation has greatly benefitted, in the last two decades, from fundamental discoveries in Arabidopsis and close model systems. Nevertheless, this approach has also highlighted a non-complete overlap between stress tolerance mechanisms in Arabidop- sis and agricultural crops. Within a long-running research program aimed at identifying salt stress genetic determinants in potato by functional screening in Escherichia coli, we isolated Asg1, a stress-related gene with an unknown function. Asg1 is induced by salt stress in both potato and Arabidopsis and by abscisic acid in Arabidopsis. Asg1 is actively transcribed in all plant tissues. Furthermore, Asg1 promoter analy- sis confirmed its ubiquitous expression, which was remarkable in pollen, a plant tissue that undergoes drastic dehydration/hydration processes. Fusion of Asg1 with green fluorescent protein showed that the encoded protein is localized close to the plasma membrane with a non-continuous pattern of distribution. In addition, Arabidopsis knockout asg1 mutants were insensitive to both NaCl and sugar hyperosmotic environments during seed germination. Transgenic potato plants over-expressing the Asg1 gene revealed a stomatal hypersensitivity to NaCl stress which, however, did not result in a significantly improved tuber yield in stress conditions. Altogether, these data suggest that Asg1 might interfere with components of the stress signaling pathway by promoting stomatal closure and participating in stress adaptation.
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