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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Novel Molecular Recognition Motif Necessary for Targeting Photoactivated Phytochrome Signaling to Specific Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors

Authors
item Khanna, Rajnish - ARS-UCB PLNT GENE EXP CTR
item Huq, Enamul - ARS-UCB PLNT GENE EXP CTR
item Kikis, Elise - ARS-UCB PLNT GENE EXP CTR
item Al-Sady, Bassem - ARS-UCB PLNT GENE EXP CTR
item Lanzatella, Christina - ARS-UCB PLNT GENE EXP CTR
item Quail, Peter - ARS-UCB PLNT GENE EXP CTR

Submitted to: The Plant Cell
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 10, 2004
Publication Date: October 14, 2004
Repository URL: http://www.plantcell.org/cgi/reprint/16/11/3033?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=quail&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT
Citation: Khanna, R., Huq, E., Kikis, E.A., Al-Sady, B., Lanzatella, C., Quail, P.H. 2004. A Novel Molecular Recognition Motif Necessary for Targeting Photoactivated Phytochrome Signaling to Specific Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors. The Plant Cell. 16:3033-2044.

Interpretive Summary: The phytochrome (phy) family of sensory photoreceptors (phyA to phyE) in Arabidopsis control plant developmental transitions in response to informational light signals throughout the life cycle. The photoactivated conformer of the photoreceptor (Pfr) has been shown to translocate into the nucleus where it induces changes in gene expression by an unknown mechanism. We have identified two basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors, designated PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR5 (PIF5) and PIF6, which interact specifically with the Pfr form of phyB. We have identified a novel sequence motif (designated the active phytochrome binding [APB] motif) that is conserved in these PIFs and have shown that this motif is both necessary and sufficient for binding to phyB. Collectively, the data suggest that the APB domain provides a phyB-specific recognition module within the bHLH family, thereby permitting phyB regulation of specific target genes.

Technical Abstract: The phytochrome (phy) family of sensory photoreceptors (phyA to phyE) in Arabidopsis thaliana control plant developmental transitions in response to informational light signals throughout the life cycle. The photoactivated conformer of the photoreceptor Pfr has been shown to translocate into the nucleus where it induces changes in gene expression by an unknown mechanism. Here, we have identified two basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors, designated PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR5 (PIF5) and PIF6, which interact specifically with the Pfr form of phyB. These two factors cluster tightly with PIF3 and two other phy-interacting bHLH proteins in a phylogenetic subfamily within the large Arabidopsis bHLH (AtbHLH) family. We have identified a novel sequence motif (designated the active phytochrome binding [APB] motif) that is conserved in these phy-interacting AtbHLHs but not in other noninteractors. Using the isolated domain and site-directed mutagenesis, we have shown that this motif is both necessary and sufficient for binding to phyB. Transgenic expression of the native APB-containing AtbHLH protein, PIF4, in a pif4 null mutant, rescued the photoresponse defect in this mutant, whereas mutated PIF4 constructs with site-directed substitutions in conserved APB residues did not. These data indicate that the APB motif is necessary for PIF4 function in light-regulated seedling development and suggest that conformer-specific binding of phyB to PIF4 via the APB motif is necessary for this function in vivo. Binding assays with the isolated APB domain detected interaction with phyB, but none of the other four Arabidopsis phys. Collectively, the data suggest that the APB domain provides a phyB-specific recognition module within the AtbHLH family, thereby conferring photoreceptor target specificity on a subset of these transcription factors and, thus, the potential for selective signal channeling to segments of the transcriptional network.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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