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Keywords:

  • gibberellin;
  • Petunia hybrida;
  • seed germination;
  • signal transduction;
  • SPY;
  • TPR

Summary

SPY acts as a negative regulator of gibberellin (GA) action in Arabidopsis, but its mode of action and regulation are still unknown. SPY over-expression in transgenic petunia plants affected various GA-regulated processes, including seed germination, shoot elongation, flower initiation, flower development and the expression of a GA-induced gene, GIP. A similar phenotype was obtained when wild-type petunia plants were treated with the GA-biosynthesis inhibitor, paclobutrazol. The N-terminus of SPY contains tetratricopeptide repeats (TPR). TPR motifs participate in protein–protein interactions, suggesting that SPY is part of a multiprotein complex. To test this hypothesis, we over-expressed the SPY's TPR region without the catalytic domain in transgenic petunia and generated a dominant-negative SPY mutant. The transgenic seeds were able to germinate on paclobutrazol, suggesting an enhanced GA signal. We cloned the petunia SPY homologue, PhSPY, and showed that its mRNA level is not affected by GA or ABA. The results of this study support the role of SPY as a negative regulator of GA action, suggest that the TPR domain is required for the interaction with other proteins to form an active complex and indicate that different plants use similar mechanisms to transduce the GA signal.