Pyrabactin, an ABA agonist, induced stomatal closure and changes in signalling components of guard cells in abaxial epidermis of Pisum sativum

Mallikarjuna Rao Puli, Agepati S. Raghavendra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pyrabactin, a synthetic agonist of abscisic acid (ABA), inhibits seed germination and hypocotyl growth and stimulates gene expression in a very similar way to ABA, implying the possible modulation of stomatal function by pyrabactin as well. The effect of pyrabactin on stomatal closure and secondary messengers was therefore studied in guard cells of Pisum sativum abaxial epidermis. Pyrabactin caused marked stomatal closure in a pattern similar to ABA. In addition, pyrabactin elevated the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitric oxide (NO), and cytoplasmic pH levels in guard cells, as indicated by the respective fluorophores. However, apyrabactin, an inactive analogue of ABA, did not affect either stomatal closure or the signalling components of guard cells. The effects of pyrabactin-induced changes were reversed by pharmalogical compounds that modulate ROS, NO or cytoplasmic pH levels, quite similar to ABA effects. Fusicoccin, a fungal toxin, could reverse the stomatal closure caused by pyrabactin, as well as that caused by ABA. Experiments on stomatal closure by varying concentrations of ABA, in the presence of fixed concentration of pyrabactin, and vice versa, revealed that the actions of ABA and pyrabactin were additive. Further kinetic analysis of data revealed that the apparent KD of ABA was increased almost 4-fold in the presence of ABA, suggesting that pyrabactin and ABA were competing with each other either at the same site or close to the active site. It is proposed that pyrabactin could be used to examine the ABA-related signal-transduction components in stomatal guard cells as well as in other plant tissues. It is also suggested that pyrabactin can be used as an antitranspirant or as a priming agent for improving the drought tolerance of crop plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1349-1356
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Abscisic acid
  • Pisum sativum
  • cytoplasmic pH
  • fusicoccin
  • guard cell
  • nitric oxide
  • pyrabactin
  • reactive oxygen species
  • stomatal closure


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