News FocusPlant Biology

Stressed Out Over a Stress Hormone

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Science  22 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5930, pp. 1012-1013
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_1012

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The hormone ABA lets plants handle rough times and holds promise for making drought-resistant crops, if only researchers could nail down its molecular partners. But the hunt for an ABA receptor, a plant-cell protein that recognizes the hormone and conveys its gene-regulating orders to the nucleus, has been full of frustration and controversy. An initial receptor discovery soon had to be retracted, and other candidate receptors have also fallen under intense scrutiny. Now, two more research teams have independently homed in on yet another ABA receptor, which they describe on pages 1064 and 1068 of this week's issue of Science. Plant biologists say they're the best data sets so far, but they're reserving final judgment on whether the hunt for an ABA receptor is over.