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Plant Signal Behav. 2015;10(7):e1044192. doi: 10.1080/15592324.2015.1044192.

The Arabidopsis thaliana TCP transcription factors: A broadening horizon beyond development.

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a Department of Biology/Chemistry ; Osnabrück University ; Osnabrück , Germany.


The TCP family of transcription factors is named after the first 4 characterized members, namely TEOSINTE BRANCHED1 (TB1) from maize (Zea mays), CYCLOIDEA (CYC) from snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), as well as PROLIFERATING CELL NUCLEAR ANTIGEN FACTOR1 (PCF1) and PCF2 from rice (Oryza sativa). Phylogenic analysis of this plant-specific protein family unveils a conserved bHLH-containing DNA-binding motif known as the TCP domain. In accordance with the structure of this shared domain, TCP proteins are grouped into class I (TCP-P) and class II (TCP-C), which are suggested to antagonistically modulate plant growth and development via competitively binding similar cis-regulatory modules called site II elements. Over the last decades, TCPs across the plant kingdom have been demonstrated to control a plethora of plant processes. Notably, TCPs also regulate plant development and defense responses via stimulating the biosynthetic pathways of bioactive metabolites, such as brassinosteroid (BR), jasmonic acid (JA) and flavonoids. Besides, mutagenesis analysis coupled with biochemical experiments identifies several crucial amino acids located within the TCP domain, which confer the redox sensitivity of class I TCPs and determine the distinct DNA-binding properties of TCPs. In this review, developmental functions of TCPs in various biological pathways are briefly described with an emphasis on their involvement in the synthesis of bioactive substances. Furthermore, novel biochemical aspects of TCPs with respect to redox regulation and DNA-binding preferences are elaborated. In addition, the unexpected participation of TCPs in effector-triggered immunity (ETI) and defense against insects indicates that the widely recognized developmental regulators are capable of fine-tuning defense signaling and thereby enable plants to evade deleterious developmental phenotypes. Altogether, these recent impressive breakthroughs remarkably advance our understanding as to how TCPs integrate internal developmental cues with external environmental stimuli to orchestrate plant development.


Arabidopsis thaliana; DNA-binding properties; TCP transcription factors; defense responses; development; redox regulation

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