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Dev Cell. 2017 Apr 10;41(1):33-46.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2017.03.013.

Selective Autophagy of BES1 Mediated by DSK2 Balances Plant Growth and Survival.

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Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.
College of Life Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China.
Department of Agronomy, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.
Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.
Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA. Electronic address:


Plants encounter a variety of stresses and must fine-tune their growth and stress-response programs to best suit their environment. BES1 functions as a master regulator in the brassinosteroid (BR) pathway that promotes plant growth. Here, we show that BES1 interacts with the ubiquitin receptor protein DSK2 and is targeted to the autophagy pathway during stress via the interaction of DSK2 with ATG8, a ubiquitin-like protein directing autophagosome formation and cargo recruitment. Additionally, DSK2 is phosphorylated by the GSK3-like kinase BIN2, a negative regulator in the BR pathway. BIN2 phosphorylation of DSK2 flanking its ATG8 interacting motifs (AIMs) promotes DSK2-ATG8 interaction, thereby targeting BES1 for degradation. Accordingly, loss-of-function dsk2 mutants accumulate BES1, have altered global gene expression profiles, and have compromised stress responses. Our results thus reveal that plants coordinate growth and stress responses by integrating BR and autophagy pathways and identify the molecular basis of this crosstalk.


brassinosteroid; drought response; growth and stress responses; kinases; selective autophagy; signal transduction; transcription factors; ubiquitin receptor

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