• Arabidopsis;
  • artificial siPEP;
  • Brachypodium;
  • peptide interference (PEPi);
  • transcription factor;
  • technical advance


Transcription factors are central constituents of gene regulatory networks that control diverse aspects of plant development and environmental adaptability. Therefore they have been explored for decades as primary targets for agricultural biotechnology. A gene of interest can readily be introduced into many crop plants, whereas targeted gene inactivation is practically difficult in many cases. Here, we developed an artificial small interfering peptide (a-siPEP) approach, which is based on overexpression of specific protein domains, and evaluated its application for the targeted inactivation of transcription factors in the dicot model, Arabidopsis, and monocot model, Brachypodium. We designed potential a-siPEPs of two representative MADS box transcription factors, SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSOR OF CONSTANS 1 (SOC1) and AGAMOUS (AG), and a MYB transcription factor, LATE ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL (LHY). Transgenic plants overproducing the a-siPEPs displayed phenotypes comparable to those of gene-deficient mutants. The a-siPEPs attenuate nuclear import and DNA-binding of target transcription factors. Our data demonstrate that the a-siPEP tool is an efficient genetic means of inactivating specific transcription factors in plants.