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Mol Cells. 2011 Apr;31(4):303-13. doi: 10.1007/s10059-011-0047-1. Epub 2011 Feb 23.

WRKY22 transcription factor mediates dark-induced leaf senescence in Arabidopsis.

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Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650223, China.


Arabidopsis WRKY proteins are plant-specific transcription factors, encoded by a large gene family, which contain the highly conserved amino acid sequence WRKYGQK and the zinc-finger-like motifs, Cys(2)His(2) or Cys(2)HisCys. They can recognize and bind the TTGAC(C/T) W-box ciselements found in the promoters of target genes, and are involved in the regulation of gene expression during pathogen defense, wounding, trichome development, and senescence. Here we investigated the physiological function of the Arabidopsis WRKY22 transcription factor during dark-induced senescence. WRKY22 transcription was suppressed by light and promoted by darkness. In addition, AtWRKY22 expression was markedly induced by H(2)O(2). These results indicated that AtWRKY22 was involved in signal pathways in response to abiotic stress. Dark-treated AtWRKY22 over-expression and knockout lines showed accelerated and delayed senescence phenotypes, respectively, and senescence-associated genes exhibited increased and decreased expression levels. Mutual regulation existed between AtWRKY22 and AtWRKY6, AtWRKY53, and AtWRKY70, respectively. Moreover, AtWRKY22 could influence their relative expression levels by feedback regulation or by other, as yet unknown mechanisms in response to dark. These results prove that AtWRKY22 participates in the dark-induced senescence signal transduction pathway.

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