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Plant Cell. 2007 Feb;19(2):509-23. Epub 2007 Feb 16.

The Arabidopsis EIN3 binding F-Box proteins EBF1 and EBF2 have distinct but overlapping roles in ethylene signaling.

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Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Ethylene signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana converges on the ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE3 (EIN3)/EIN3-Like (EIL) transcription factors to induce various responses. EIN3 BINDING F-BOX1 (EBF1) and EBF2 were recently shown to function in ethylene perception by regulating EIN3/EIL turnover. In the absence of ethylene, EIN3 and possibly other EIL proteins are targeted for ubiquitination and subsequent degradation by Cullin 1-based E3 complexes containing EBF1 and 2. Ethylene appears to block this ubiquitination, allowing EIN3/EIL levels to rise and mediate ethylene signaling. Through analysis of mutant combinations affecting accumulation of EBF1, EBF2, EIN3, and EIL1, we show that EIN3 and EIL1 are the main targets of EBF1/2. Kinetic analyses of hypocotyl growth inhibition in response to ethylene and growth recovery after removal of the hormone revealed that EBF1 and 2 have temporally distinct but overlapping roles in modulating ethylene perception. Whereas EBF1 plays the main role in air and during the initial phase of signaling, EBF2 plays a more prominent role during the latter stages of the response and the resumption of growth following ethylene removal. Through their coordinated control of EIN3/EIL1 levels, EBF1 and EBF2 fine-tune ethylene responses by repressing signaling in the absence of the hormone, dampening signaling at high hormone concentrations, and promoting a more rapid recovery after ethylene levels dissipate.

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