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J Exp Bot. 2019 Aug 6. pii: erz359. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erz359. [Epub ahead of print]

Histone acetyltransferase GCN5-mediated regulation of long non-coding RNA At4 contributes to phosphate-starvation response in Arabidopsis.

Wang T1,2,3, Xing J2,3, Liu Z2,3, Zheng M2,3, Yao Y2,3, Hu Z2,3, Peng H2,3, Xin M2,3, Zhou D4, 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, Yuanmingyuan Xi, Haidian District, Beijing, China.
Institut of Plant Science Paris-Saclay, Université Paris sud, Orsay, France.


Phosphate availability is becoming a limiting environmental factor that inhibits plant growth and development. Here, we demonstrated that mutation of histone acetyltransferase GCN5 impaired phosphate-starvation responses (PSR) in Arabidopsis. Transcriptome analysis revealed that 888 GCN5-regulated candidate genes were potentially involved in responding to phosphate starvation. ChIP assay indicated that four genes, including a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) At4, are direct targets of GCN5 in PSR regulation. In addition, GCN5-mediated H3K9/14 acetylation of At4 determined dynamic At4 expression. Consistent with the function of At4 in phosphate distribution, mutation of GCN5 impaired phosphate accumulation between shoots and roots under phosphate-deficiency condition, whereas constitutive expression of At4 in gcn5 mutants partially restored phosphate relocation. Further evidence proved that GCN5 regulation of At4 influenced the miRNA miR399 and its target PHO2 mRNA level. Taken together, we propose that GCN5-mediated histone acetylation plays a crucial role in PSR regulation via the At4-miR399-PHO2 pathway and provides a new epigenetic mechanism for the regulation of lncRNA in plants.


Arabidopsis thaliana ; At4 ; GCN5; histone acetylation; lncRNA; phosphate-starvation response


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