Table_1.DOCX

Plants need to respond to various environmental stresses such as abiotic stress for proper development and growth. The responses to abiotic stress can be biochemically demanding, resulting in a trade-off that negatively affects plant growth and development. Thus, plant stress responses must be fine-tuned depending on the stress severity and duration. Abscisic acid, a phytohormone, plays a key role in responses to abiotic stress. Here, we investigated time-dependent physiological and molecular responses to long-term ABA treatment in Arabidopsis as an approach to gain insight into the plant responses to long-term abiotic stress. Upon ABA treatment, the amount of cellular ABA increased to higher levels, reaching to a peak at 24 h after treatment (HAT), and then gradually decreased with time whereas ABA-GE was maintained at lower levels until 24 HAT and then abruptly increased to higher levels at 48 HAT followed by a gradual decline at later time points. Many genes involved in dehydration stress responses, ABA metabolism, chloroplast biogenesis, and chlorophyll degradation were strongly expressed at early time points with a peak at 24 or 48 HAT followed by gradual decreases in induction fold or even suppression at later time points. At the physiological level, long-term ABA treatment caused leaf yellowing, reduced chlorophyll levels, and inhibited chloroplast division in addition to the growth suppression whereas short-term ABA treatment did not affect chlorophyll levels. Our results indicate that the duration of ABA treatment is a crucial factor in determining the mode of ABA-mediated signaling and plant responses: active mobilization of cellular resources at early time points and suppressive responses at later time points.