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Plant Physiol. 2009 Jun;150(2):710-21. doi: 10.1104/pp.109.138099. Epub 2009 Apr 24.

BIN2 functions redundantly with other Arabidopsis GSK3-like kinases to regulate brassinosteroid signaling.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1048, USA.


GLYCOGEN SYNTHASE KINASE3 (GSK3) is a highly conserved serine/threonine kinase involved in a variety of developmental signaling processes. The Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) genome encodes 10 GSK3-like kinases that are clustered into four groups. Forward genetic screens have so far uncovered eight mutants, all of which carry gain-of-function mutations in BRASSINOSTEROID-INSENSITIVE2 (BIN2), one of the three members in group II. Genetic and biochemical studies have implicated a negative regulatory role for BIN2 in brassinosteroid (BR) signaling. Here, we report the identification of eight ethyl methanesulfonate-mutagenized loss-of-function bin2 alleles and one T-DNA insertional mutation each for BIN2 and its two closest homologs, BIN2-Like1 and BIN2-Like2. Our genetic, biochemical, and physiological assays revealed that despite functional redundancy, BIN2 plays a dominant role among the three group II members in regulating BR signaling. Surprisingly, the bin2bil1bil2 triple T-DNA insertional mutant still responds to BR and accumulates a more phosphorylated form of a BIN2 substrate than the wild-type plant. Using the specific GSK3 inhibitor lithium chloride, we have provided strong circumstantial evidence for the involvement of other Arabidopsis GSK3-like kinases in BR signaling. Interestingly, lithium chloride treatment was able to suppress the gain-of-function bin2-1 mutation but had a much weaker effect on a strong BR receptor mutant, suggesting the presence of a BIN2-independent regulatory step downstream of BR receptor activation.

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