ABA signaling plays a central role in regulating plants respond to drought. Although much progress has been made in understanding the functions of ABA signaling in drought response, very little information is available regarding woody plants. In this study, the components of ABA signaling pathway were identified in mulberry which has excellent adaptation to drought, including three PYLs, two PP2Cs, two SnRK2s, four ABFs, and an ABA responsive gene MaRD29B. The gene expression of ABA signaling components exhibited significant response to ABA and drought, and their roles in drought response were revealed using a transient transformation system in mulberry seedlings. We discovered the ABA signaling components, MaABI1/2 and MaSnRK2.1/2.4, could directly interact with G-protein γ subunits, MaGγ1 and MaGγ2, which indicated that G-protein γ subunits may mediate the signal crosstalk between G-proteins and ABA signaling. Transient activation assay in tobacco and RNAi silencing assay in mulberry further demonstrated that MaGγ1 and MaGγ2 regulated drought response by enhancing ABA signaling. This study expands the repertoire of ABA signaling controlling drought responses in plants and provides the direct evidence about the crosstalk between ABA signaling and G-proteins for the first time.
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