Regulation of the calcium-sensing receptor in both stomatal movement and photosynthetic electron transport is crucial for water use efficiency and drought tolerance in Arabidopsis.
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Production per amount of water used (water use efficiency, WUE) is closely correlated with drought tolerance. Although stomatal aperture can regulate WUE, the underlying molecular mechanisms are still unclear. Previous reports revealed that stomatal closure was inhibited in the calcium-sensing receptor (CAS) antisense line of Arabidopsis (CASas). Here it is shown that decreased drought tolerance and WUE of CASas was associated with higher stomatal conductance due to improper regulation of stomatal aperture, rather than any change of stomatal density. CASas plants also had a lower CO2 assimilation rate that was attributed to a lower photosynthetic electron transport rate, leading to higher chlorophyll fluorescence. Gene co-expression combined with analyses of chlorophyll content and transcription levels of photosynthesis-related genes indicate that CAS is involved in the formation of the photosynthetic electron transport system. These data suggest that CAS regulates transpiration and optimizes photosynthesis by playing important roles in stomatal movement and formation of photosynthetic electron transport, thereby regulating WUE and drought tolerance.