The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) regulates plant growth, development, and abiotic stress responses. ABA signaling is mediated by a group of receptors known as the PYR1/PYL/RCAR family, which includes the pyrabactin resistance 1-like protein PYL8. Under stress conditions, ABA signaling activates SnRK2 protein kinases to inhibit lateral root growth after emergence from the primary root. However, even in the case of persistent stress, lateral root growth eventually recovers from inhibition. We showed that PYL8 is required for the recovery of lateral root growth, following inhibition by ABA. PYL8 directly interacted with the transcription factors MYB77, MYB44, and MYB73. The interaction of PYL8 and MYB77 increased the binding of MYB77 to its target MBSI motif in the promoters of multiple auxin-responsive genes. Compared to wild-type seedlings, the lateral root growth of pyl8 mutant seedlings and myb77 mutant seedlings was more sensitive to inhibition by ABA. The recovery of lateral root growth was delayed in pyl8 mutant seedlings in the presence of ABA, and the defect was rescued by exposing pyl8 mutant seedlings to the auxin IAA (3-indoleacetic acid). Thus, PYL8 promotes lateral root growth independently of the core ABA-SnRK2 signaling pathway by enhancing the activities of MYB77 and its paralogs, MYB44 and MYB73, to augment auxin signaling.
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