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Plant J. 2008 Jan;53(1):42-52. Epub 2007 Oct 22.

Transcription factor AtTCP14 regulates embryonic growth potential during seed germination in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Growth Regulation Research Group, RIKEN Plant Science Center, Yokohama, 1-7-22, Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama 230-0045, Japan.


To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying regulation of seed germination, we searched enriched cis elements in the upstream regions of Arabidopsis genes whose transcript levels increased during seed germination. Using available published microarray data, we found that two cis elements, Up1 or Up2, which regulate outgrowth of Arabidopsis axillary shoots, were significantly over-represented. Classification of Up1- and Up2-containing genes by gene ontology revealed that protein synthesis-related genes, especially ribosomal protein genes, were highly over-represented. Expression analysis using a reporter gene driven by a synthetic promoter regulated by these elements showed that the Up1 is necessary and sufficient for germination-associated gene induction, whereas Up2 acts as an enhancer of Up1. Up1-mediated gene expression was suppressed by treatments that blocked germination. Up1 is almost identical to the site II motif, which is the predicted target of TCP transcription factors. Of 24 AtTCP genes, AtTCP14, which showed the highest transcript level just prior to germination, was functionally characterized to test its involvement in the regulation of seed germination. Transposon-tagged lines for AtTCP14 showed delayed germination. In addition, germination of attcp14 mutants exhibited hypersensitivity to exogenously applied abscisic acid and paclobutrazol, an inhibitor of gibberellin biosynthesis. AtTCP14 was predominantly expressed in the vascular tissues of the embryo, and affected gene expression in radicles in a non-cell-autonomous manner. Taken together, these results indicate that AtTCP14 regulates the activation of embryonic growth potential in Arabidopsis seeds.

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