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Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 27;7:45087. doi: 10.1038/srep45087.

Heterologous protein-DNA interactions lead to biased allelic expression of circadian clock genes in interspecific hybrids.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences and Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.
Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China.
The Partner State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China.


Genomic interactions in allopolyploids create expression variation of homoeologous alleles through protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions. However, the molecular basis for this is largely unknown. Here we investigated the protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions among homoeologous transcription factors in the circadian-clock feedback loop, consisting of CCA1 HIKING EXPEDITION (CHE), CIRCADIAN CLOCK ASSOCIATED1 (CCA1), and TIMING OF CAB EXPRESSION1 (TOC1), plus the interaction with a chromatin factor, HISTONE DEACETYLASE1 (HD1). In the allotetraploids formed between A. thaliana (At) and Arabidopsis arenosa (Aa), AtCCA1 is expressed at lower levels than AaCCA1, which could alter clock output traits. The reduced AtCCA1 expressions in the allotetraploids are consistent with the biochemical data that AaCHE showed preferential binding to the AtCCA1 promoter, in which AaCHE interacts with a higher affinity to AtHD1 than AtCHE. AaCHE also showed a higher affinity to TOC1 than AtCHE, consistent with the effect of TOC1 on repressing CCA1. Thus, stronger AaCHE-TOC1 and AaCHE-AtHD1 interactions reduce AtCC1 allelic expression. Our current data suggest a biochemical basis for protein interactions in trans with a preference to the cis-acting elements in heterologous combinations to reduce AtCCA1 expression, while altered CCA1 expression has been shown to affect metabolic and biomass heterosis in interspecific hybrids or allotetraploids.

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