PerspectivePlant Science

Controlling Hormone Action by Subversion and Deception

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Science  06 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6064, pp. 46-47
DOI: 10.1126/science.1217667

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The Nobel chemist Roald Hoffmann described molecular mimicry as a mechanism founded on subversion and deception. On page 85 of this issue, Soon et al. (1) report intriguing evidence for such mimicry in the transmission of signals elicited by the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA). Using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the authors show that the ABA-bound receptor and kinase alternately bind to a phosphatase, turning on and off this stress-responsive pathway, respectively. Not surprisingly, ABA is behind this “subversive” dealing in partner swapping.