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Plant Cell. 2012 Oct;24(10):4135-48. doi: 10.1105/tpc.112.102608. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

The DUF59 family gene AE7 acts in the cytosolic iron-sulfur cluster assembly pathway to maintain nuclear genome integrity in Arabidopsis.

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National Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics and Centre for Plant Gene Research Shanghai, Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200032, China.


Eukaryotic organisms have evolved a set of strategies to safeguard genome integrity, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we report that asymmetric leaves1/2 enhancer7 (AE7), an Arabidopsis thaliana gene encoding a protein in the evolutionarily conserved Domain of Unknown Function 59 family, participates in the cytosolic iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster assembly (CIA) pathway to maintain genome integrity. The severe ae7-2 allele is embryo lethal, whereas plants with the weak ae7 (ae7-1) allele are viable but exhibit highly accumulated DNA damage that activates the DNA damage response to arrest the cell cycle. AE7 is part of a protein complex with CIA1, NAR1, and MET18, which are highly conserved in eukaryotes and are involved in the biogenesis of cytosolic and nuclear Fe-S proteins. ae7-1 plants have lower activities of the cytosolic [4Fe-4S] enzyme aconitase and the nuclear [4Fe-4S] enzyme DNA glycosylase ROS1. Additionally, mutations in the gene encoding the mitochondrial ATP binding cassette transporter ATM3/ABCB25, which is required for the activity of cytosolic Fe-S enzymes in Arabidopsis, also result in defective genome integrity similar to that of ae7-1. These results indicate that AE7 is a central member of the CIA pathway, linking plant mitochondria to nuclear genome integrity through assembly of Fe-S proteins.

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