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J Biol Chem. 2012 Feb 17;287(8):5434-45. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.312298. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

REF4 and RFR1, subunits of the transcriptional coregulatory complex mediator, are required for phenylpropanoid homeostasis in Arabidopsis.

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1
Department of Biochemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2063, USA.

Abstract

The plant phenylpropanoid pathway produces an array of metabolites that impact human health and the utility of feed and fiber crops. We previously characterized several Arabidopsis thaliana mutants with dominant mutations in REDUCED EPIDERMAL FLUORESCENCE 4 (REF4) that cause dwarfing and decreased accumulation of phenylpropanoids. In contrast, ref4 null plants are of normal stature and have no apparent defect in phenylpropanoid biosynthesis. Here we show that disruption of both REF4 and its paralog, REF4-RELATED 1 (RFR1), results in enhanced expression of multiple phenylpropanoid biosynthetic genes, as well as increased accumulation of numerous downstream products. We also show that the dominant ref4-3 mutant protein interferes with the ability of the PAP1/MYB75 transcription factor to induce the expression of PAL1 and drive anthocyanin accumulation. Consistent with our experimental results, both REF4 and RFR1 have been shown to physically associate with the conserved transcriptional coregulatory complex, Mediator, which transduces information from cis-acting DNA elements to RNA polymerase II at the core promoter. Taken together, our data provide critical genetic support for a functional role of REF4 and RFR1 in the Mediator complex, and for Mediator in the maintenance of phenylpropanoid homeostasis. Finally, we show that wild-type RFR1 substantially mitigates the phenotype of the dominant ref4-3 mutant, suggesting that REF4 and RFR1 may compete with one another for common binding partners or for occupancy in Mediator. Determining the functions of diverse Mediator subunits is essential to understand eukaryotic gene regulation, and to facilitate rational manipulation of plant metabolic pathways to better suit human needs.

PMID:
22167189
PMCID:
PMC3285322
DOI:
10.1074/jbc.M111.312298
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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