Mechanism that regulates elongation growth of leaves is revealed

March 20, 2020

Two transcription factors act antagonistically to regulate growth

The international joint research group with members from RIKEN CSRS, Chubu University, the Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU) and Washington State University has revealed that the AHL transcription factor family restricts petiole elongation by antagonizing another transcription family, the PIFs.

PIFs have been known to promote growth by activating genes associated with elongation of petioles. However, the mechanism that represses growth had not been clearly understood.

The international joint research group focused on understanding the function of AHLs, which inhibit the growth of hypocotyls. By using Arabidopsis thaliana, a model plant, the group revealed that AHLs repress the growth of petioles by reducing PIF binding to their target genes (e.g., the ATHB2 gene). This indicates that AHLs fine-tune elongation growth of petioles by regulating gene expression via the PIFs.

It is anticipated that artificial manipulation of PIF and AHL transcription factor activities in agricultural plants may lead to advancement of agriculture and environmental conservation in the future, for example by increasing biomass or enhancing environmental robustness.

Original article
Current Biology doi:10.1016/j.cub.2020.02.017
D. S Favero, A. Kawamura, M. Shibata, A. Takebayashi, J.-H. Jung, T. Suzuki, K. E Jaeger, T. Ishida, A. Iwase, P. A Wigge, M. M Neff, K. Sugimoto,
"AT-hook transcription factors restrict petiole growth by antagonizing PIFs".
David S. Favero; Visiting Researcher
Keiko Sugimoto; Team Leader
Cell Function Research Team