Arabidopsis CYP707As encode (+)-abscisic acid 8'-hydroxylase, a key enzyme in the oxidative catabolism of abscisic acid.
Abscisic acid (ABA) is involved in a number of critical processes in normal growth and development as well as in adaptive responses to environmental stresses. For correct and accurate actions, a physiologically active ABA level is controlled through fine-tuning of de novo biosynthesis and catabolism. The hydroxylation at the 8'-position of ABA is known as the key step of ABA catabolism, and this reaction is catalyzed by ABA 8'-hydroxylase, a cytochrome P450. Here, we demonstrate CYP707As as the P450 responsible for the 8'-hydroxylation of (+)-ABA. First, all four CYP707A cDNAs were cloned from Arabidopsis and used for the production of the recombinant proteins in insect cells using a baculovirus system. The insect cells expressing CYP707A3 efficiently metabolized (+)-ABA to yield phaseic acid, the isomerized form of 8'-hydroxy-ABA. The microsomes from the insect cells exhibited very strong activity of 8'-hydroxylation of (+)-ABA (K(m) = 1.3 microm and k(cat) = 15 min(-1)). The solubilized CYP707A3 protein bound (+)-ABA with the binding constant K(s) = 3.5 microm, but did not bind (-)-ABA. Detailed analyses of the reaction products confirmed that CYP707A3 does not have the isomerization activity of 8'-hydroxy-ABA to phaseic acid. Further experiments revealed that Arabidopsis CYP707A1 and CYP707A4 also encode ABA 8'-hydroxylase. The transcripts of the CYP707A genes increased in response to salt, osmotic, and dehydration stresses as well as ABA. These results establish that the CYP707A family plays a key role in regulating the ABA level through the 8'-hydroxylation of (+)-ABA.