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Keywords:

  • transcription regulation;
  • AtbZIP44 ;
  • AtbZIP11 ;
  • AtMAN7 ;
  • seeds;
  • germination;
  • endosperm rupture;
  • seed coat rupture;
  • Arabidopsis thaliana

Summary

Endo-β-mannanases (MAN; EC. 3.2.1.78) catalyze the cleavage of β1[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]4 bonds in mannan polymers and have been associated with the process of weakening the tissues surrounding the embryo during seed germination. In germinating Arabidopsis thaliana seeds, the most highly expressed MAN gene is AtMAN7 and its transcripts are restricted to the micropylar endosperm and to the radicle tip just before radicle emergence. Mutants with a T-DNA insertion in AtMAN7 have a slower germination than the wild type. To gain insight into the transcriptional regulation of the AtMAN7 gene, a bioinformatic search for conserved non-coding cis-elements (phylogenetic shadowing) within the Brassicaceae MAN7 gene promoters has been done, and these conserved motifs have been used as bait to look for their interacting transcription factors (TFs), using as a prey an arrayed yeast library from A. thaliana. The basic-leucine zipper TF AtbZIP44, but not the closely related AtbZIP11, has thus been identified and its transcriptional activation upon AtMAN7 has been validated at the molecular level. In the knock-out lines of AtbZIP44, not only is the expression of the AtMAN7 gene drastically reduced, but these mutants have a significantly slower germination than the wild type, being affected in the two phases of the germination process, both in the rupture of the seed coat and in the breakage of the micropylar endosperm cell walls. In the over-expression lines the opposite phenotype is observed.