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Type 2C protein phosphatases (PP2Cs) are vitally involved in abscisic acid (ABA) signaling. Here, we show that a synthetic growth inhibitor called pyrabactin functions as a selective ABA agonist. Pyrabactin acts through PYRABACTIN RESISTANCE 1 (PYR1), the founding member of a family of START proteins called PYR/PYLs, which are necessary for both pyrabactin and ABA signaling in vivo. We show that ABA binds to PYR1, which in turn binds to and inhibits PP2Cs. We conclude that PYR/PYLs are ABA receptors functioning at the apex of a negative regulatory pathway that controls ABA signaling by inhibiting PP2Cs. Our results illustrate the power of the chemical genetic approach for sidestepping genetic redundancy.