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J Exp Bot. 2018 May 25;69(12):2911-2922. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ery077.

GCN5 contributes to stem cuticular wax biosynthesis by histone acetylation of CER3 in Arabidopsis.

Wang T1,2,3, Xing J2,3, Liu X2,3, Yao Y2,3, Hu Z2,3, Peng H2,3, Xin M2,3, Zhou DX4, Zhang Y5, Ni Z2,3.

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Key Laboratory of Molecular Epigenetics of the Ministry of Education (MOE), Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China.
State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, Key Laboratory of Crop Heterosis and Utilization (MOE), Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement (Beijing Municipality), China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.
College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.
Institute of Plant Science Paris-Saclay, Université Paris Sud, 91405 Orsay, France.
National Maize Improvement Center, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.


Cuticular wax is a major component of the surface cuticle of plants, which performs crucial functions in optimizing plant growth. Histone acetylation regulates gene expression in diverse biological processes, but its role in cuticular wax synthesis is not well understood. In this study, we observed that mutations of the Arabidopsis thaliana histone acetyltransferase GENERAL CONTROL NON-REPRESSED PROTEIN5 (GCN5) impaired the accumulation of stem cuticular wax. Three target genes of GCN5, ECERIFERUM3 (CER3), CER26, and CER1-LIKE1 (CER1-L1), were identified by RNA-seq and ChIP assays. H3K9/14 acetylation levels at the promoter regions of CER3, CER26, and CER1-L1 were consistently and significantly decreased in the gcn5-2 mutant as compared to the wild-type. Notably, overexpression of CER3 in the gcn5-2 mutant rescued the defect in stem cuticular wax biosynthesis. Collectively, these data demonstrate that GCN5 is involved in stem cuticular wax accumulation by modulating CER3 expression via H3K9/14 acetylation, which underlines the important role of histone acetylation in cuticular wax biosynthesis.

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