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Plant Cell. 2009 Jun;21(6):1747-61. doi: 10.1105/tpc.108.062968. Epub 2009 Jun 16.

A pivotal role of the basic leucine zipper transcription factor bZIP53 in the regulation of Arabidopsis seed maturation gene expression based on heterodimerization and protein complex formation.

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  • 1Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Escuela Técnica Superior Ingenieros Agrónomos, 28223 Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, Spain.


Transcription of Arabidopsis thaliana seed maturation (MAT) genes is controlled by members of several transcription factor families, such as basic leucine zippers (bZIPs), B3s, MYBs, and DOFs. In this work, we identify Arabidopsis bZIP53 as a novel transcriptional regulator of MAT genes. bZIP53 expression in developing seeds precedes and overlaps that of its target genes. Gain- and loss-of-function approaches indicate a correlation between the amount of bZIP53 protein and MAT gene expression. Specific in vivo and in vitro binding of bZIP53 protein to a G-box element in the albumin 2S2 promoter is demonstrated. Importantly, heterodimerization with bZIP10 or bZIP25, previously described bZIP regulators of MAT gene expression, significantly enhances DNA binding activity and produces a synergistic increase in target gene activation. Full-level target gene activation is strongly correlated with the ratio of the correspondent bZIP heterodimerization partners. Whereas bZIP53 does not interact with ABI3, a crucial transcriptional regulator in Arabidopsis seeds, ternary complex formation between the bZIP heterodimers and ABI3 increases the expression of MAT genes in planta. We therefore propose that heterodimers containing bZIP53 participate in enhanceosome formation to produce a dramatic increase in MAT gene transcription.

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