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Plant Physiol. 2012 Jan;158(1):363-75. doi: 10.1104/pp.111.189738. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

Arabidopsis RGLG2, functioning as a RING E3 ligase, interacts with AtERF53 and negatively regulates the plant drought stress response.

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Institute of Plant Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan.


Transcriptional activities of plants play important roles in responses to environmental stresses. ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR53 (AtERF53) is a drought-induced transcription factor that belongs to the AP2/ERF superfamily and has a highly conserved AP2 domain. It can regulate drought-responsive gene expression by binding to the GCC box and/or the dehydration-responsive element in the promoter of downstream genes. Overexpression of AtERF53 driven by the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter resulted in an unstable drought-tolerant phenotype in T2 transgenic Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants. Using a yeast two-hybrid screen, we identified a RING domain ubiquitin E3 ligase, RGLG2, which interacts with AtERF53 in the nucleus. The copine domain of RGLG2 exhibited the strongest interacting activity. We also demonstrated that RGLG2 could move from the plasma membrane to the nucleus under stress treatment. Using an in vitro ubiquitination assay, RGLG2 and its closest sequelog, RGLG1, were shown to have E3 ligase activity and mediated AtERF53 ubiquitination for proteasome degradation. The rglg1rglg2 double mutant but not the rglg2 or rglg1 single mutant exhibited a drought-tolerant phenotype when compared with wild-type plants. AtERF53-green fluorescent proteins expressed in the rglg1rglg2 double mutants were stable. The 35S:AtERF53-green fluorescent protein/rglg1rglg2 showed enhanced AtERF53-regulated gene expression and had greater tolerance to drought stress than the rglg1rglg2 double mutant. In conclusion, RGLG2 negatively regulates the drought stress response by mediating AtERF53 transcriptional activity in Arabidopsis.

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