LLA23, a member of the abscisic acid-, stress-, and ripening-induced (ASR) protein family, was previously isolated from lily (Lilium longiflorum) pollen. The lily ASR is induced through desiccation-associated ABA signaling transduction in the pollen. ASRs are highly hydrophilic and intrinsically unstructured proteins with molecular masses generally less than 18 kDa. LLA23 is abundant in the cytoplasm and nuclei of both vegetative and generative cells of pollen grains. The protein in the nucleus and in the cytoplasm is partly regulated by dehydration. A dual role is proposed for LLA23, as a regulator and a protective molecule, upon exposure to water deficits. This chapter reviews the current state of literature on Asr genes, protein structure, function, and their responses to various stresses. In a study, a genome-wide microarray was used to monitor the expression of LLA23-regulated genes, focusing on the relationship between ASR-, glucose-, and drought-inducible genes, and outlined the difference and cross talk of gene expression among these signaling networks. A strong association was observed in the expression of stress-responsive genes and found 25 genes that respond to all three treatments. Highly inducible genes were also found in each specific stress treatment. Promoter sequence analysis of LLA23-inducible genes enabled us not only to identify possible known cis-acting elements in the promoter regions but also to expect the existence of novel cis-acting elements involved in ASR-responsive gene expression. ASR can be used to improve crops and economically important plants against various environmental stresses
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