Diverse stresses such as high salt conditions cause an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS), necessitating a redox stress response. However, little is known about the signaling pathways that regulate the antioxidant system to counteract oxidative stress. Here, we show that a Glycogen Synthase Kinase3 from Arabidopsis thaliana (ASKα) regulates stress tolerance by activating Glc-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), which is essential for maintaining the cellular redox balance. Loss of stress-activated ASKα leads to reduced G6PD activity, elevated levels of ROS, and enhanced sensitivity to salt stress. Conversely, plants overexpressing ASKα have increased G6PD activity and low levels of ROS in response to stress and are more tolerant to salt stress. ASKα stimulates the activity of a specific cytosolic G6PD isoform by phosphorylating the evolutionarily conserved Thr-467, which is implicated in cosubstrate binding. Our results reveal a novel mechanism of G6PD adaptive regulation that is critical for the cellular stress response.
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