Analysis of the Arabidopsis thaliana RING-ANK (for Really Interesting New Gene-Ankyrin) family, a subgroup of RING-type E3 ligases, identified KEEP ON GOING (KEG) as essential for growth and development. In addition to the RING-HCa and ankyrin repeats, KEG contains a kinase domain and 12 HERC2-like repeats. The RING-HCa and kinase domains were functional in in vitro ubiquitylation and phosphorylation assays, respectively. Seedlings homozygous for T-DNA insertions in KEG undergo growth arrest immediately after germination, suggestive of increased abscisic acid (ABA) signaling, a major phytohormone that plays a key role in plant development and survival under unfavorable conditions. Here, we show that KEG is a negative regulator of ABA signaling. keg roots are extremely sensitive to the inhibitory effects of ABA and exhibit hypersensitivity to exogenous glucose, consistent with the known interaction between glucose and ABA signaling. The observations that KEG accumulates high levels of ABSCISIC ACID-INSENSITIVE5 (ABI5) without exogenous ABA, interacts with ABI5 in vitro, and that loss of ABI5 rescues the growth-arrest phenotype of keg mutant seedlings indicate that KEG is required for ABI5 degradation. In this capacity, KEG is central to ABA signaling by maintaining low levels of ABI5 in the absence of stress.
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